Valedictorian follows the song in her heart

Lydia Dake is one of those students who never stops.
Lydia Dake performs as Ariel in the Broadalbin-Perth High School production of "The Little Mermaid."
Lydia Dake performs as Ariel in the Broadalbin-Perth High School production of "The Little Mermaid."

Lydia Dake is one of those students who never stops.

She is overwhelmingly involved with nearly every theater production in the Broadalbin-Perth area, yet still had time to earn her black belt in karate and finish high school at the top of her class.

While karate and the performing arts may seem like an unlikely combination, Dake says she’s seen a lot of parallels between the two that have helped her succeed in all of her activities.

“Karate has really helped my discipline, and I think that’s made it easier to keep myself collected in a number of situations,” Dake explained. “In both settings I’ve learned how to be in sync with people, which I think is kind of a neat skill to have. Both activities have helped me work with other people better, and that’s a skill I’ll definitely use in the future.”

Dake’s discipline and ability to focus also came into play with her schoolwork. With a 99 grade-point average, she still managed to make academics a priority on top of her extracurricular commitments.

“Lydia has always been very creative, but also very calculating. No matter what she’s doing, she always rises to the occasion,” said Alycia Spraker, who was both Dake’s English teacher and director of the local musicals. “She’s done a lot for our school and our music program, and she’ll definitely be missed.”

Dake’s passion for theater began in third grade, when a friend suggested they try out for a musical production of “The Little Mermaid” at the Glove Theatre in Gloversville. After landing a minor role in the mermaid ensemble, Dake was hooked.

Nine years later, as a high school senior, she scored the leading role as Ariel in her high school’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”

“I thought it was really fun to see it all come full circle,” Dake said. “I have a lot of friends who are very involved in the theater program, too, so I’m thankful that we got to keep the program going strong.”

Over the years, Dake continued her love for the performing arts in many shows at the Glove, eight years of summer drama and four Broadalbin-Perth High School musicals. For a while, Dake was convinced she wanted a career in performing arts, but changed her mind after re-evaluating her true ambitions.

“For a while, I really thought I was going to go into theater, but then my priorities kind of shifted. I really want to have a family one day, and I didn’t want to try to balance traveling and working six days a week with spending time with my family. I realized I wanted something more than being a big star on Broadway,” Dake explained.

Passion for helping

Dake plans to continue her musical performances as a hobby, proclaiming she “couldn’t live without something that was such a big part of her life.” In the meantime, she re-discovered her passion for serving others. When she attends the University of Rochester in the fall, she’ll be majoring in psychology.

“The thing that I also found fulfilling was helping people and advising, so psychology stuck out to me. I hope I can be a counselor one day and get involved with research while I’m at Rochester,” Dake said.

The theatrical star student says she’s thankful for the friends and memories she’s made at Broadalbin, but she’s also ready to move on and explore her passions outside her small hometown.

“It’s really bittersweet,” she admitted. “I’m definitely going to miss the people here, but I’m really excited to be someplace else. I think that where I live is a nice place, but I’m the kind of person who needs a change of pace, and now is the perfect time in my life for that.”

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