JP’s Barricklo, Boston Arts Academy’s Valedictorian, Headed to Emerson College

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Jamaica Plain's Jonah Barricklo fully took advantage of everything the Boston Arts Academy offers after he moved to Boston from the Bronx in 2017. He was able to showcase his singing, dancing and acting skills -- and was named valedictorian of his class.

Dan Jentzen

Jonah Barricklo starring in Memphis at the Strand Theater.

Q: What does it mean to you to be BAA's valedictorian?

Barricklo: I am honored to be BAA’s valedictorian. It is so nice to have been so warmly welcomed into the community at the school. Being valedictorian is a representation of all the hard work I committed to my education in the last four years, and I really appreciate all the care and support BAA gave me along the way.

Q: You moved to Boston from the Bronx in 2017. What was it like moving to a new city and a new school?

Barricklo: As the new kid, you’re always a little nervous about fitting in at a new school. I was worried I wouldn’t make any friends, but my theater class welcomed me with open arms and included me in the ensemble right away. The made me feel like I wasn’t new to BAA or Boston.

Q: What did you like about attending BAA?

Barricklo: BAA has pushed me to be a stronger artist in many ways. As an actor, I’ve been able to find new depths of character and character analysis than I ever have before. I’ve also been able to grow other auxiliary skills like directing and lighting design that make me a well-rounded actor and have had the unique opportunity to take dance classes with the dance department, learning how to take more risks and build my skills as a performer. I’ve also become a better citizen by attending BAA because of the school’s diversity which has exposed me to a wide range of students with unique stories and family heritages. Most of the arts industry lacks representation and diversity, and BAA is one of the few places that help underprivileged students who may not have had the chance to make their voices heard.

Annielly Camargo

Jonah Barricklo presenting the BAA Graduation 2019 Honorees.

Q: You starred in BAA's spring musical, Memphis at the Strand Theater. What was it like performing in front of a 1,400 seat theater?

Barricklo: Being able to perform in a theater the size of the Strand is something I never even dreamed of doing before graduating high school. It was incredible to perform in front of three audiences sharing the stage with my classmates and friends. We had so much fun collaborating across departments and I was thrilled to showcase all our hard work.

Q: Who and/or what influences your singing, dancing and acting?

Barricklo: My parents put me in dance classes at a very young age, so I have always been in the performing arts community in one way or another. Probably some of my earliest influences are the Golden Age musicals of Hollywood and performers like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, and Debbie Reynolds.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

Barricklo: After graduation, I’ll be attending Emerson College to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. This will pave my way to a career in the performing arts.