About the COA » Endorsements


Our current students, alumni and their parents have a lot of great things to say about The Arts at Mater Dei, many continuing to make The Arts a part of their careers.

“The Choral & Vocal and Theatre Arts programs provided me with an opportunity to discover and develop certain talents I didn’t realize I had; literally finding my voice. Whether it’s a passionate pursuit, an appreciation for the arts, or lifelong friendships, the arts are an avenue into a greater understanding of humanity and ourselves.”

-Christopher Job ‘96, Resident at the Metropolitan Opera in New York

(Choral & Vocal Music, Theatre Arts)

“Being in the program has allowed me to work with some great instructors who are heavily involved in the music scene themselves and constantly push me to become better.”

-Joseph Nguyen ‘20

(Instrumental Music)

The Guitar Program has been such a blessing to me. Music is such a huge part of who I am, and this program has amplified it to farther than I could have imagined; I am incredibly thankful."

-Meg Jillian ‘21

(Guitar Media Production)

“Instrumental Music gave my girls experiences and skills far beyond anything I could have imagined. They learned how to contribute to a bigger group, collaborate with their peers, and gain self confidence. Most importantly, it gave them lifelong friends and memories."

-Wendy Yoshizaki

Parent of Isabelle Yoshizaki ‘17 and Madeline Yoshizaki ‘19

(Instrumental Music)

“The guitar program has given me so many opportunities; I’ve met so many friends, and I’ve learned so much about myself because of it. Guitar gives me a way to express myself through music and to see how others can express themselves.”

-Preston Doughty ‘20

(Guitar Media Production)

“The program allowed me to perform in professional football stadiums, in front of castles overseas and in world-class concert halls while making lifelong friends in the process.”

-Paul Van Dorpe ‘95

(Instrumental Music)

“Drumline and Jazz Band at Mater Dei provided some of the most positive and memorable experiences of my high school years. The comradery of the program and the music education I received paved the way for a rewarding career as a college music professor.”

-David Fague ‘96

(Director of Jazz Studies and Bulldog Band at Gonzaga University)

“It’s uplifting to have a coach that loves you and wants the best for you, pushing you in a motivating way.”

-Lauren McGrath ‘20

(Movement Arts- Dance)

“Getting something you practiced so hard for, and then performing it for everyone to see- it’s amazing. It’s about making it your own. Colorguard changed my life.”

-Monique Rivera ‘20

(Movement Arts- Color Guard)

“To be completely honest, I didn’t realize how much dance impacted my life until my time with the program came to a close.  Looking back upon the years that I spent working with those around me, I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences the program has given me, and the memories I share with the individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting are endless.  And although it may seem like it at first, dance isn’t something that you just do for fun, but is truly so much more than that.  Dance is the lifelong friendships and bonds you forge with those around you; dance is knowing you can rely on others even during the toughest of times; dance is the second family you never knew you had.”

-Luis Salcedo ‘20

(Movement Arts- Hip Hop)

“On stage, it’s just me getting to be me, without any stress. I have learned so much about myself through dancing and made so many friends. My song teammates are like my sisters.”

-McKenna Rogers ‘20

(Movement Arts- Song)

“Theatre gave me a voice when I felt voiceless – it is magical to use someone else’s words to express your own feelings.”

-MoniQue Rangell-Onwuegbuzia ‘18


“Mater Dei Theatre has given me the resources to cultivate my passions for acting and singing, as well as created a space and community to help performers like me grow and succeed.”

-Reese Wineroth ‘21

(Theatre, Choral & Vocal Music)

“With the supportive community of both teachers and students, the Visual Arts program truly taught me to always grow as an artist and in turn became the start of my artistic journey.”

-Emily Mendoza ‘15

(Visual Arts)

“The Performing Arts are THE reason I came to Mater Dei. They are diverse, accepting, fun and gave us a taste of how genuine the MD family is.”

-Alexis Rangell-Onwuegbuzia ‘18, Columbia University ‘22

(Film & Media, Theatre)

“I started in the marching band at Mater Dei and joined the drill team [now dance team] as a junior. It was a great place to begin my high school journey since I really did not know anyone. The band director made summer camp exciting and it was an awesome introduction as to how much fun we would have as a musical family.”

-Julie (Parker) Fort ‘87

(Instrumental Music, Movement Arts)

Proud parent of Lexi Fort ‘15 and Casey Fort ‘20

(Choral & Vocal Music, Theatre and Film & Media)

“I recognize the performing experience gained at Mater Dei as one of the most valuable tools of my education. It was integral in my success as a college athlete and now a professional. From college press interviews and hosting a radio show at Notre Dame to leading business meetings, the arts have impacted me well beyond high school.”

-Joseph Schmidt IV ‘11

(Choral & Vocal Music, Theatre)

“If I were to try to physically put into words how dance has impacted my life, it would not do the question justice because that is how much it has. I feel Dance has impacted my life so much, that even expressing my love for it would have to be in dance form because naturally, that is how I express myself the best. In the span of four years dancing at Mater Dei I have grown to love dance, appreciate what goes into dance, want to become a dancer for my career, and just take in dance as a beautiful form of expression far beyond words.”

-Dante Casarin ‘20, OC Varsity Street Dance Finalist

(Movement Arts- Hip Hop)