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Briarcliff Student Cherished Scotland Theater Fest

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – When Lindsey Whalen heard that her school was organizing a student trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, she knew she wanted to go but felt guilty asking her parents to pay the $3,000 for the trip.

Whalen, 16, of Briarcliff, decided to save up to pay for half the trip herself by working three summer jobs: two at the Briarcliff pool as a swim coach and lifeguard and one at the Briarcliff summer "Supercamp" as a counselor for second graders.

"It was really nice knowing that the jobs I was working at that I loved were going to pay at the end of the day for this festival that I've wanted to go to for a while," said Whalen, who returned from her trip to the Scotland festival last week.

In Edinburgh, Whalen and 11 other girls from her all girls' Catholic school, School of the Holy Child in Rye, spent six days going to live performances, including musicals, love stories, improv, plays and concerts with international bands. They also took part in a theater workshop and took a tour of the Edinburgh castle where ancient crown jewels are displayed.

"It was definitely worth it. It was so much fun," said Whalen. "It's not every day you get to go to a different country with other girls in your class who you don't usually sit with at lunch."

Whalen has been involved in theater productions at her private school since she was a freshman and she enjoyed being thoroughly immersed in theater in Edinburgh.

"The shows were very different and unique. They talked about different things like the 10 plagues, which was a musical, and Futureproof, which was a play about misfits in the circus including a character who was half woman, half man," said Whalen.

Whalen and her classmates left their hotel at 8 a.m. and came back at around 9 p.m. every day. They saw two to four shows per day and were asked by their theater teacher to take notes on performances.

Whalen was also in charge of taking photos and videos for a presentation on the Fringe Festival trip during the school year.

Though it rained almost every day of the trip, that didn't dampen Whalen and her classmate's enthusiasm.

"One night we went to a ballet by a Chinese ballet company who performed a version of Romeo and Juliet," Whalen said. "It's not every day you get to see that type of stuff."

Now that she is back in Briarcliff, Whalen is looking forward to doing more theater during her senior year and working with young kids again next summer as a camp counselor and swim coach.

"I love little kids and I can't wait to do (my summer jobs) again next year," Whalen said.

The money she saves next year will probably go towards college, she said.

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