Palmer Trinity School junior Ainsley Franklin loves the theater. She’s co-president of the Thespian Honor Society and has been acting since the summer before eighth grade.
Franklin has been in nine Palmer Trinity School theater productions.
“We did Jekyll and Hyde in October (musical) – I was a lead ensemble soloist,” she says.
She played a big kid mic ensemble member and the librarian March 12-13 in Matilda, which was also a musical. She’s playing Judy, Christopher’s mom, in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night which runs April 23-25.
“I have been performing since the summer before eighth grade,” she says.
She’s participated in four theater competitions. This year, they did quite well with mostly superiors and a few excellents.
“I received a superior for duet acting and ensemble acting,” she says. “These were my first superiors. It was a big deal for me! It was fun to work hard on it with my friends and then reap the benefits of it.”
She also received an excellent for costume design, which is a new area for her. For that she looked at the play As You Like It and drew costumes.
“I picked five characters I would like to design the costumes for,” she says. “For one of the characters, I envisioned him for having a bold personality. And I put him in bold colors.”
Franklin heads to the state competition the third weekend of March.
While theater is her main thing, she works avidly to stand up for equality. She is scheduled to go to the Peace Jam Conference in April in Tallahassee. She attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Seattle in December.
“I had to go through an interview process. I was chosen as one of the six participants to go,” she says.
That training helps her stand up for her beliefs.
“I was able to hear a lot of diverse perspectives,” she says, adding those perspectives were ones she probably wouldn’t have heard at school.
She had to give a speech and detailed a situation as school where she had a few people bullying her.
“This bullying was really hurtful, but I didn’t notice what these people were doing, but SDLC helped me find a good support group and pride to stand up and realize what they were doing was wrong,” she says.
Writing the speech helped clarify the situation for her.
“I have talked to the people who bullied me and now they have a better understanding,” she says.
In terms of community service, a few years ago, she ran a food drive with her younger sister. The donations went to a food pantry for students at Southridge High School.
“A lot of kids don’t have the most economically stable family,” she says. “So, on the weekends or on breaks, they don’t have access to food, so I wanted to help with that.”
They collected canned foods, soups and other items not needing refrigeration. She also volunteers for The Walking Closet, a club that collects clothing for the needy.
Franklin is vice president of the Second Chance Animal Rescue. The club hosts bake sales and other fundraising events to donate money to rescue organizations. Last year they collected a variety of goods such as toilet paper, dog food, cat food and paper towels that an animal rescue shelter might find usual.
They had a booth at the International Festival that sold candy and featured puppies that were up for adoption. They are working on organizing another drive to collect materials for shelters again.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld