Lily Paris '22

I’m inspired by all kinds of things. I love discovering great music, live theater (Broadway, please come back soon), a new Instagram or YouTube account featuring art, design, or cool graphics, and, of course, television.

I have always known that I want to do something creative as a career but haven’t nailed down exactly what that might look like. I love being involved in different kinds of art because it gives me a chance to experiment and figure out the best fit for me.

Besides the arts, I am passionate about giving back, especially to organizations that have supported me. I am an ambassador for both Make-A-Wish and Monroe Carell Junior Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. I enjoy speaking on their behalf. I’ve had opportunities to speak to small groups, large groups, the Country Music Radio media, the hospital radio-thon, and the television broadcast of the Nashville Christmas parade. Each event gives me a chance to help organizations and people that have helped me, and to get an up-close look at careers in the arts I would have never known about otherwise.

When my parents and I started looking at high schools, we instantly noticed the emphasis FRA put on the arts. There seemed to be lots of opportunities and variety, and even more importantly, lots of participation by students and faculty. I wanted to go to a school where theater was just as supported as football, and FRA felt like that kind of place. Even with the pandemic and its restrictions, FRA is working hard to offer students opportunities, but I still can’t wait to get back to “normal” theater productions and shows again.

The faculty at FRA totally supports the arts. From my first art class with Dr. Thornton to Mr. Bolen’s encouragement to get more involved in the productions and the stop motion film during the quarantine last spring, they are always offering opportunities and support. I’ve been able to take classes in different areas of the arts and look forward to AP art next year. The teachers and administrators that aren’t part of the art department come to the shows, look at the art in the halls, and show that they value it; and the students do the same. A great example is Coach Dawson knowing my interests and asking me to design a logo for FRAVE one year.

The teachers at FRA want to say yes to whatever the students are passionate about. Last year I wanted to bring the Make-A-Wish Letters to Santa campaign to the middle and upper school. Mr. Casey and Mr. Stabler were open to adding it into an already busy time period, and Coach Flegel helped me work out the logistics. FRA had the highest participation of any school in Middle Tennessee and helped raise funds for kids waiting for wishes.

Just this week, Mr. Kaiser stopped in the art room to look at my latest painting and forwarded me an article about Harry Styles he thought I’d be interested in. And when I have needed help or struggled with a class, I have never had a teacher be anything but kind, accommodating, and patient with me. At FRA I feel known and supported.

It is important, especially in the uncertain times we are living in, that we support each other and get excited for each other even when we don’t understand someone else’s talent, point of view, or passion. FRA has always felt like a place where I can be myself and figure out what’s next with lots of support. Being halfway through my junior year in the middle of a pandemic is scary, but I’m grateful to be going through it at a place like FRA. 

Lily started attending FRA as a freshman in 2018 and was awarded Freshman Outstanding Student of the year. She is a cancer survivor and has shared her story as the emcee for the Make-A-Wish gala and as a guest speaker at fundraising events like the Chi O Fashion Show at Vanderbilt.  At FRA, she actively participates in the upper school service club, and currently serves as the recruitment and promotions chair for National Honor Society.  Lily is involved in many aspects of the arts community at FRA. Winner of the 2019-20 Theater Tech Award, she has been an integral part of drama productions since her freshman year. Most recently, she helped film and edit the production of “Screen Teens.”