Ali Meneghetti graduated from Hamlin in 2011, but has continued to be involved in several Hamlin theater productions throughout her high school and college years. Now a senior at Smith College, we had the opportunity to catch up with Ms. Meneghetti as she was working on props for the upcoming production of Arabian Nights.
What did you love about your time at Hamlin?
I loved theater, field day, the Halloween assembly, playing basketball, soccer, and running cross country. I also loved my friendships; I still have three Hamlin friends who I talk to and text with very consistently.
Tell us about your theater experience?
I loved acting in the plays, being various characters, telling stories on stage. I remember being in “A Christmas Carol” in 1st grade, I had one line, but I was very excited. I went on to perform in so many wonderful roles every year that I was at Hamlin. In 8th grade I hurt my ankle and couldn’t play sports. I started volunteering with Ms. Abbott, helping 3rd and 4th graders block scenes, do character voices and character walks. I enjoyed being on stage performing, but found that I really loved helping out with the off stage work. I loved watching younger students discover their voice; they found out more about themselves as they rehearsed their character.
How does your time at Hamlin connect to your life at Smith College now?
I’m the Chair of Student Programs at Smith. We put on weekly films, host speakers, live music concerts, and general events. My theater work at Hamlin in 8th grade made me a problem solver. I use that same ability now when managing the many moving parts of various events.
How did you become such a dedicated Hamlin theater volunteer?
I tried doing theater in high school, but the program didn’t have the same feel as Hamlin. Ms. Abbott was such an integral part of my life, I really believed in her program. In the space she creates, each student has the opportunity to shine and feels valued. Everyone in a production is important and has a distinct role. Ms. Abbott knows each kid and how they work. She brings a wonderful individual approach to a communal environment. I wanted to give back to a program that gave me so much. I will continue to come back and volunteer as long as Ms. Abbott is here. Working at the Hamlin theater is my happy place. I like being around the energy of the girls and watching them grow up.