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Senior Jack Del Nunzio takes lessons learned in drama beyond the classroom

Over his four years at Century High School, through starring performances and leadership roles, senior Jack Del Nunzio has become the face of the school's drama department.

Over his four years at Century High School, through starring performances and leadership roles, senior Jack Del Nunzio has become the face of the school's drama department.

According to drama teacher Troy Barnes, over his four years, Del Nunzio has evolved from a talented freshman to an inspiration on stage.

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"He is the exact opposite of that theatrical diva," Barnes said. "He's sort of been thrust into this role of leadership, and he excels at it. Everyone sees him as such a nice guy. He's really talented and really intelligent, and he's dedicated to his friends and his program and his schoolwork."

Del Nunzio has been performing at Century High School for nearly his entire life. He said his first experience in theater was back in elementary school, when his mother encouraged him to audition for a summer Shakespeare program at Century.

"I wasn't really looking forward to it much, because Shakespeare is kind of a taboo thing when you're a kid," Del Nunzio said. "But I went in and I really enjoyed it. That was when I started getting connected to the Drama Club."

Because of his roles with the summer Shakespeare program, Del Nunzio was asked to audition for Century's production of "The Music Man" when he was just in fourth grade. He landed the role and began a relationship with the school's theater program that would last the rest of his school career. Del Nunzio returned the next year for the school's production of "Oliver!" and continued performing Shakespeare in the summers.

By the time he was ready to attend Century, he said, drama was something he knew he wanted to pursue.

During his freshman year, Del Nunzio auditioned for a role in the school's production of "Bye Bye Birdie." Barnes said he was so impressed with the actor, that he almost cast him in the lead role.

"He was just so small and young that he couldn't play a 35-year-old man, but his talent was obvious," Barnes said. "Each year, he grew, and he would get, if not the lead, then close to a lead."

Del Nunzio said he's always appreciated drama as something to help keep him busy. He said getting together with friends and going on stage is something that de-stresses him. One of the aspects he loves most about acting is the camaraderie built between the various drama members.

"I've never experienced a group that gets along so well together," Del Nunzio said. "It's a cliche at this point, but it's true: We truly are a drama family."

He said one of his favorite drama memories is gathering in the dressing room before each show and chanting with his fellow actors a new chant every year. He said there's something so primal and communal about the act that preps them for taking the stage.

Out of his acting career, he said his favorite show has been "Sweeney Todd" this year. He said it was a thrill to do something so complicated and original, and a change of pace from the Disney shows in recent memory.

Del Nunzio plans to study history and economics at McDaniel College after he graduates. He plans to keep theater in his life, but hopes to one day become a college professor and teach history. Despite the change in focus, Del Nunzio said acting has prepared him for his future, teaching him how to be comfortable with himself, project his voice and collaborate with new people.

"You have a choice. If you want to fly through school and not get a lot out of it, you can," Del Nunzio said. "I've enjoyed getting as much as I can out of my time here."

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Twitter.com/Jacob_deNobel

Century High Class of 2016

Number of graduating seniors: 287

• 60 percent plan to attend a four-year college.

• 33 percent plan to attend a two-year college.

• < 0.01 percent plan to attend a trade school.

• 4 percent plan to enter the work force.

• 4 percent plan to enlist in the military.

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