Alumni Answers: Vincent Harrill, Eaton grad and actor
Alumni Answers: Vincent Harrill, Eaton grad and actor
Posted on 10/15/2018
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Eaton alumnus Vincent Harrill

As part of Eaton High School’s first graduating class, Vincent Harrill and his peers left a strong legacy for future students. Mr. Harrill took part in numerous significant group fine arts accomplishments – including the one-act play’s advancement to region – and earned several fine arts accolades in the area on his own.

Mr. Harrill is now attending Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he is working toward a bachelor’s degree in acting with a minor in vocal performance – as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in government. While double-majors require extra work, Mr. Harrill said the choice fits his passions.

How the country works is fascinating to Mr. Harrill, and acting and singing have also served as a source of enjoyment, which he attributes to Nick Kougias, Eaton’s theatre director.

At Eaton, you were a member of a fine arts program that saw quick success in one-act play. What do you enjoy most about acting?
Acting is more than just walking up on stage, reciting your lines and then walking off. For me, it’s about doing your best work on and off the stage to make sure when you do perform for an audience that you tell a story that either entertains them and takes them out of their world for a brief moment, or imparts a story or idea in a way that they maybe haven’t heard before. This can ultimately lead to the audience learning things that could possibly help them in a situation in their life or even sometimes change their life. That’s something special and something I don’t think that anyone who enjoys the world of performance should take lightly, and they should truly relish that responsibility.

As an actor, you performed at a major showcase in the Betty Lynn Buckley Awards. Is it difficult staying composed at important performances?
Being able to go to the Betty Buckley Awards was an incredible opportunity, and I am grateful to all of my fellow performers who represented our performance so well. I think that when it comes to performances that would typically be considered a bit more important or larger in some way, the best way to approach it is to just look at that performance the same way you would any other performance. For me, nerves don’t ever help the situation or enhance my performance, so I always make sure that they aren’t a part of the situation so I can focus on the performance. The best way to do that is just to treat all performances like it’s a professional job.

For younger students who haven’t had a taste of theatre but are interested in participating, what’s the best way to prepare?
I think that if you are interested in theatre, then the best thing to do is to just try it out. At first it’s going to be a little uncomfortable, but new things always are. So just commit yourself to it from the beginning and just go for it, which truthfully, I think that is the attitude you should have in anything you do. And if you find that you really enjoy it and are good at it, go all in. At the end of the day, you only get out of something what you put in, so put in everything you have. That mindset is the best thing you could do in whatever area you end up enjoying and pursuing.

As a member of the first graduating class of Eaton, what will you remember most about being part of a new high school?
Being a part of the first graduating senior class of Eaton High School was an amazing opportunity that I wouldn’t trade for anything for many reasons. One is the traditions and standards that we were able to set as the first senior class, which future senior classes will be able to pursue and add to in the future years. Another was the initiation of different programs and activities, such as our Thespian Troupe, Troupe #8390. These things along with the relationships I was fortunate to make, were a big part of what I will remember from being part of the first graduating class. I can’t imagine being part of the first class and not having had these experiences and relationships.

What advice do you have for this year’s high school students as they begin looking at college or career opportunities?
Be open to a variety of different opportunities and not just what you are currently passionate about. Many times as seniors we are told that we should pursue our dreams, which is absolutely true. But I think that often times we limit ourselves in that pursuit by narrowly choosing from what we already know and not considering various methods, colleges and/or careers, that can take us toward attaining those dreams. A real truth in life is that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, or may not even enjoy doing. But many times those are the exact things that will take you to where you want to be. So do your homework. Look into multiple colleges and careers, don’t be swayed by accolades or fake platitudes, and find that right college or career just for you.

This feature originally appeared in the Fall 2018-19 issue of Northwest Navigator magazine.