“What makes the school unique is the teachers. I came from a middle school where I didn’t really have a connection with any of my teachers. At The Academy, they are your mentors. They really look out for you and care for you. They are artists themselves, so they are in the same headspace as you. I haven’t felt like I can get that connection anywhere else. They are really some of the coolest people I have ever met.”
Joseph Dockery is heading to New England Conservatory in Boston to study classical guitar! For the last couple of years, he has been captain of the Opera Team.
“I was most proud of last year’s opera ‘Planet X’. I knew nothing about opera until I came to this school, but I was quickly smacked with a bunch of knowledge on how to compose. I began to get really into it, and then in my junior year, I was blessed to become Captain of the Opera Team. That meant I was in charge of writing, conceptualizing, and composing an entire opera that the school funds. Planet X was a childhood game that I used to play with my sister. Why not make an opera about it?”
Joseph had some advice for the incoming freshmen, and reflected on how quickly Academy students adjust to adulthood.
“Enjoy your time here. I think everyone says that about the school. But now that I’m leaving, I really feel that way. I've learned so much. Definitely don’t take your time here for granted. When you are in the middle of it, it feels like so many responsibilities are being placed on you. But that kind of pressure really puts you above a lot of other musicians out there. I know I have a better foundation going into college than some other students, and not only with my music. I commute 45 minutes on the train to and from The Academy every day. I’ve been doing that since I was fourteen years old. I really got a lot of adulthood at a pretty young age.”
“So many of my influences are at this school. The best musicians I’ve ever met are at this school. It’s crazy, because once I came here I started looking up to people are who were like two months older than me. I had never admired other musicians like that before. And I’m friends with them! It’s like being friends with the most badass musicians ever. You want to be at their level.”
Photos by Thomas Mohr Photography