Alumni Spotlight: Class of ‘22 Lynda Irizarry returns to coach vocals for spring musical


Lynda Irizarry, class of 2022.

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Class of 2022 alumna Lynda Irizarry made her mark in the school’s drama community, taking up a variety of roles throughout her four years.  She was  Drama Club president, played the iconic role of Sebastian in last year’s musical The Little Mermaid, and served as overall director of S!NG. This year, while  studying music and theater at Hunter College through the Macaulay Honors program,  Lynda has returned to THHS as a vocal instructor for the 2023 spring musical production of Into the Woods. 

Lynda said that before she started performing and directing in THHS, she “couldn’t even sing in front of a single person, let alone direct over 200 students in an original musical.” However, after participating in S!NG during her freshman year, she discovered her hidden passion for theater and was immediately drawn to its supportive community inside the school. 

Throughout the rest of her high school career, Lynda engaged in many of the performing arts-based opportunities that THHS has to offer. She said that these extracurriculars helped her develop her problem-solving skills and leadership abilities, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “Even though it felt like the world around us was ending, the music and theater communities I was part of all banded together to support one another and keep performance alive,” Lynda said. 

Originally, Lynda “came into THHS thinking that [she would] join a bunch of sports” due to her background in karate. She loved music, but was never confident in her abilities. However, her perspective completely changed after her first year of S!NG. “I went from barely being able to sing in front of one person to putting on impromptu performances in the lobby in my senior year of high school.” Theater helped her with exploring her creative side, as well as gaining much more self-confidence, she said. 

High school for Lynda was a new set of doors being opened in front of her with a variety of opportunities. For the longest time, Lynda thought she wanted to go into psychology. It was already halfway through the college application process when a conversation with band teacher Kevin Heathwood and inspiration from the Jazz Ensemble made her change her path and focus on becoming a music teacher, she said.

“Nothing before that had felt like a completely correct career choice. Teaching music simply made sense, as it combined two of my passions: music and helping people,” Lynda said. 

“It’s good to see future music educators start going that path. It’s one thing being a musician in the band while you’re here, but then coming back to work with the singers as a college student, it’s like a different world,” said Mr. Heathwood. 

Into the Woods stage manager and junior Amelia Lauren said, “Lynda was one of a few people that really brought back my interest in musical theatre. She really taught me that even though I am not in the spotlight, acting, singing, or dancing, being backstage or being a stage manager is still extremely important to the show.”

Lynda’s advice to current THHS students is “Be the change you want to see.” She said, “you have to reflect on how you are interacting with your environment and your private matters. If you don’t like the way something is, such as a grade you have or a relationship you’re in, it is up to you to put effort in to change that thing.”