Palmetto High School junior Brooke Sterling has an incredibly busy life. Her goal is to major in musical theater in college and be an actor after that. In order to achieve her goals, she takes private lessons and participates in the Palmetto drama program.
She also sings the National Anthem for Miami-Dade Country Public School events.
“I do two a week,” she says. “For events like Bike Day, town hall meetings, events in parks.”
She is also now jetting around the country singing the national anthem at basketball games.
“I sing at Miami Heat games, Charlotte Hornet games, Utah Jazz games,” she says.
The LA Clippers have contacted her about singing at the National Anthem at a playoff game.
She’s also sung at Miami Hurricanes basketball games – both men’s and women’s. That was special for her since her sister is a Canes cheerleader.
Locally, she has sung at Palmetto’s Blue and White game, with the Palm Beach Pops and the Orange Bowl Classic.
Sterling began singing when she was little.
“When I was four, my grandma showed me a video of Sutton Foster singing from Thoroughly Modern Millie on the Tonight Show,” Sterling says. “I turned to my mom and said I have to do this for the rest of my life.”
Most parents would laugh and talk about how cute that moment was. But Sterling was persistent and she began taking voice lessons, dance lessons and acting lessons.
“I’m always studying,” she says. “I’m always reading plays and trying to learn more.”
In the Palmetto drama program, she’s been in almost every show since she began high school. She played the Baroness in the big spring musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, she was Jo in Little Women, Georgia in Curtains and Fiona in Shrek.
“I’ve done community theater in Miami and South Florida,” Sterling says. “I was one of 12 kids from around the country chosen for the Muny.”
At the Muny she was in Hairspray in front of 10,000 people a night.
“I was the only one chosen again,” she says. “This summer I’ll be in Mama Mia. I’m in the ensemble. This is still unheard of because they don’t have kids getting Muny credit in high school. Everybody else is in college or beyond college having performed on Broadway.”
She credits her Palmetto drama teacher, Robin Barson, with helping her get into the Muny summer program.
“Very innovative, very loving,” she says. “The best teacher ever.”
Barson says Sterling is destined for greatness. Others with her talent would have found their way to New York or Los Angeles but she has chosen to stay home through her high school years.
“I really believe in education and I want to make sure I get a real high school diploma,” she says. “I want to be a normal kid and go out after college, then have fame. Not be a celebrity. I want to live a normal life until then and be a student.”
In high school competitions, she and her group won a Critic’s Choice for large group at the district level and she won a Critic’s Choice for her monologue. At the state level, she received near perfect scores. As a freshman, she was named District Representative for her small group, the highest award at the district level.
Sterling is treasurer of the Thespian Honor Society and a member of the Improv Club. She also a member of the National Honor Society. This summer, she’s taking classes at Webster University, a top-ranked musical theater college.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld