Thespians take the Turnpike

West Bloomfield High School MIFA group travels to Holland High after making friendships that will last for a life time.


Friday, May , 15, 2015 A group of five West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association (MIFA) students traveled across the state to visit their biggest competition perform their spring musical . Tatiana Habsburg, grade 12, Emily Rooks, grade 12, Perry Quaker, grade 11, Josh Rusinov, grade 12 and Jared Pauli, grade 10, got into two separate cars Friday afternoon. “I drove and it was a miracle that Emily and I got there alive,” Habsburg says shyly. Notorious for her poor driving, Habsburg proceeds to explain what happened once the group arrived in Holland Michigan. “Well, Emily and I got there before the boys, (Perry, Pauli and Rusinov) so we went to Jamie Colburn’s house, the Holland senior where we were to stay the night.” It was prom season and hotels were not giving rooms to adults under 21, so Habsburg contacted Emily Timmer , grade 11 at Holland High school, and Timmer asked Jamie Colburn, grade 12, at Holland High School if they could stay with him. Both Timmer and Colburn played a leadership role in the Holland High School MIFA one act, “Sugar”. “The thing is, we had only spoken with Jamie a few times, “explains Rooks. “So when Tatiana asked if we could spend the night, and he said yes and his parents said yes, we were so surprised by this kindness.” The girls, Habsburg and Rooks, arrived at Colburn’s house approximately at 4:30, an hour ahead of schedule. “We drove way faster than the boys, Jamie’s father was there and he was so kind when he showed us where we were sleeping (Jamie’s twin sisters’ bedroom) and where the boys were going to sleep, (the basement).” Rooks says. Colburn’s father, Mr. Colburn was the music director for MIFA and Holland High Schools Musical. “He directed the pit for this show,” Pauli explains.
Jamie Colburn plans to attend Michigan University in the fall, after a summer of acting in Illinois. He auditioned at  the college of Musical Theater at University of Michigan, and is proud to say they accepted him for the graduating class of 2019. Emily Timmer is a junior at Holland high school and plans on leading her MIFA team for the 2015-2016 season. Colburn reflects on the visit on the West Bloomfield students and how it affected them. “It was very last minutes to have them as a guest at my house but knowing they all competed in the One Act I knew they would be awesome house guests. It was a blast having them over and we had plenty of stories to share. I, along with the entire cast was elated to have them support us and our show. Knowing that theater can bring people who live hours away from each other is an incredible thing.”
“The girls got there before us and so they went downtown for something to eat. We saw them on this patio at an Irish Pub and Tatiana was sitting there eating shrimp wrapped in Bacon.” Needless to say the girls were gorging themselves on the finest that Holland had to offer.
After dinner, the performance at Holland High School started at 7:00pm, May 15. Holland’s theater department differs from WBHS’s in that they run shows, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights for two weekends, opposed to West Bloomfield only performing their shows one weekend, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The star of the show was Colburn who played a young man, orphaned, who worked in a flower shop. The musical was Little Shop of Horrors. The plot line followed a comedy about a plant that only eats blood. It proceeds from a few of Colburn’s blood drips to the plant eating entire people and a romance as well. “Holland puts on amazing performances and I am so pleased that we came to see it,” states Rusinov.
After the show, a tradition of the Holland High school cast is to go out to the movies; this year the cast invited the WBHS to come see Pitch Perfect at the local theater. “The show was funny and we were all very touched by the kindness of Holland High Schools students,” says Quarker. After the movie, the five West Bloomfield students trooped back to Colburn’s house for a couple of Dr. Peppers and a long discussion of the differences and similarities in the two high schools. “It was two worlds clashing. I feel in love with the Holland students from MIFA and really respect their work and the theater they perform. I love Jamie and everyone in holland is so kind. I think they were touched that we came all that way and we were touched because they showed us every kindness. They invited us into their home, fed us and treated us as special guests, not the silly high school students we really are,” Habsburg says.

The next day, I woke up to Tatiana patting my head saying “good morning, coffee and donuts are ready upstairs,” says Quaker. “But Mom I don’t want to get up,” joked Pauli, as Tatiana turned the light in the basement on. Timmer greeted the West Bloomfield group in the morning at Colburn’s home and had a lively conversation as Colbun went off to a theater workshop.
Timmer was also touched by the fact that West Bloomfield MIFA students traveled  to see the show, “I loved the encouragement from West Bloomfield at competition and it carried through their visit here. It was sweet of them to make the trip out here and see us. I thank them so much for coming.”
Holland performed Sugar in this year’s 2014-2015 season for MIFA. They took second place only because they went overtime. WBHS came home with The Golden Truck award home for the first time in WBHS’s history. “I thought that it was important to make friends with the schools we were competing with, it is important to make connections with people. The world is a big place and leaving high school has made me start thinking about how nice it is to have friends in many places,” Habsburg reflects.
This trip to Holland brought the two schools together and set a precedent for future years to come, that West Bloomfield MIFA is full of students who are willing and active in reaching out to other schools. Theater brought these two schools together and friendship now blossoms. Even though they are 3 hours away, they are still in the hearts of the students in WBHS.