Several years ago Senior Henry Overos realized he had reached a crossroads. “I liked skateboarding,” he recalls, “but I realized I was growing distant from other skateboarders. For many of my friends skateboarding became all about ‘extreme experiences,’ or ‘resisting authority.’ No one thought about actually having fun. Everyone wanted to be ‘different’ and no one wanted to be themselves. I wanted to be “for” something.”
As time passed Henry found out more about how he was made and what made him tick. “I played classical piano since first grade. I enjoyed that, and still do, but it was too complex. I was only copying the music, and couldn’t make it artful.” His piano experience changed with his introduction to jazz in eighth grade.
“In jazz the structure of the music allows for more freedom of expression. There are so many possibilities and permutations. I’m able to play the same songs differently each time. I love the idea that I’m creating something.” For Henry, however, this creativity does not happen in a vacuum. “Jazz has many classic songs with long histories. I saw that the best artists have to admire those who came before, and hearing others gives me insight into my playing. It’s a great learning experience.”
Henry’s admiration for the past partly comes out in his love of movies. “In some ways,” he admits, “I approach movies like an art historian. “I love the ‘classics’ and creative process of my favorite directors like Akiro Kurosawa. If I could pick any job it would be writing and directing film.”
Henry came to AFA in seventh grade and admits, “[Coming here] was not my decision. I knew I would miss my friends from public school. I thought, ‘I’m going to act cool around these private school kids,’ but I liked it when I visited. I realized that my classmates cared about community and each other.” Still, his transition brought challenges. “Previously it was easy to get homework done, but teachers demanded a lot more of me here,” he recalls. “I also resisted the concept of a Christian worldview in various subjects. The devotionals and prayer time also at first seemed rote and disconnected. But [the methodology] grew on me, and now I can really appreciate their importance.” He also came to see that, “I loved that I could converse with my teachers. They gave me something to think about even if they did not give me answers. For example, I sometimes disagreed with Miss Faulkner, but she always encouraged me to keep asking her questions, and to keep thinking. I really respected that.”
“The ideas behind AFA promote truth, beauty, and goodness,” and Henry appreciates that this has helped promote his own creativity. At the same time, “A lot happens at once here, and while the broad education can be beneficial, I can’t focus on anything in particular just yet.”
But that time is coming. Henry hopes that a History major is in his future after graduation. “History encompasses everything I want to study,” he comments. He admits that a future in film is a “crazy dream,” but can see that “The connection is in the idea of stories. History is filled with stories, and film is another medium to create a story, an interpretation of events.” But ultimately, both of his passions connect on a deeper level. “The idea that God creates a story for the world gives me an interest to see the implications of events. It’s fascinating to try and get that ‘big picture’ perspective.”