Violet Tinnirello gets nervous sometimes.
It can happen just before she’s about to go on stage, or before a big audition and especially if it’s a part she really really wants.
Like Shirley Temple.
Violet, a third-grader at Sanfordville Elementary, says she has “always always always” dreamed of portraying the young Depression-era superstar.
“Always” began three years ago, when Violet was just five years old, and her mom took her to see “Chasing Rainbows, the Road to Oz” an off-Broadway musical about Judy Garland.
It was the role of Shirley Temple that captivated little Violet, and by the time the curtain came down, she had set her mind on one day landing the part.
Now 8, Violet’s resume includes television commercials, voice-overs, and even an appearance on Sesame Street. Being an actress is great fun, she says, but there’s also quite a bit of work. There are auditions, plus lessons and rehearsals.
“I love all of it,” says Violet. “I love performing for people, and I love making them happy.”
Violet’s principal at Sanfordville Elementary School, Johnna Maraia, says Violet’s positive attitude has a ripple effect in the school, and that Violet is a little leader among her peers.
“She always brings the sunshine,” said Ms. Maraia.
School, says Violet, is just as wonderful as performing.
“I really love this school,” said Violet. “I love my classes and my friends and I love my teachers.”
But there is that nervousness. Violet, though, has developed a strategy:
“I just decide I’m not gonna be nervous,” she said. “I think about how much fun it’s going to be and the nervousness goes away.”
Then this past summer, “Chasing Rainbows” needed a Shirley Temple for an industry-only performance. Violet was asked to audition, and she definitely got just a little nervous.
“I worked and I hoped and I practiced and I got it,” she said. “I don’t think I was ever so excited.”
She knows that other people, even grown-ups, get nervous, too. Her advice?
“Just go for it,” said Violet. “And have fun.”
Each week, Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach shines the “The Superintendent Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s amazing students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, face challenges, and are role models to their peers.