Beyond the Classroom: A Student’s Experiences Expand His World

Published: April 03, 2014

Errol Adams, a second-semester theatre major in the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Academy, was unprepared for his powerful reaction after reading The Road of LostSenator Jose Peralta Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine, by Somaly Mam.  The autobiography--part of the Common Read initiative at Queensborough-- chronicles the experiences of a young woman who escapes a life of abuse and then helps rescue hundreds of women and children trapped in similar situations.

“It was a harsh awakening for me,” said Errol, who lives in Rosedale with his family. “I spoke to my sisters about human trafficking and that it happens here in Queens and throughout the City. They need to be aware of what’s going on around them.”The Common Read is an annual event at Queensborough that involves the college community in a series of activities around a chosen book. The purpose of the initiative is to inspir e lively discussions, make connections and build on an intellectually engaged community.One of the Common Read activities was a visit by New York State Senator Jose Peralta (13th Senate District), who addressed the issue of human trafficking in “our own backyard.” Barbara Lynch, Errol’s Professor in the Department of English, instructed her students to attend the lecture and write an essay based on the Senator’s remarks.

Errol said, “I was impressed by Senator Peralta’s knowledge and passion about the issue and that people feel welcome to come to his office where they share their personal stories. But I also realized that he is only one person, so it’s important to get involved even if it’s not just your problem.”

After the lecture was over, Errol spoke at length with the Senator and told him that the experience of reading the book and hearing his perspectives on the topic inspired him to write a play.

Errol explained, “The plot will be based on the theme of human trafficking and the scenes will take place in New York City.”  

Errol is not only interested in playwriting but loves acting as well. He auditioned for the fall student production of 12 Angry Jurors, written by Reginald Rose and directed by Arthur Adair, Professor in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre, VAPA Academy.

“In high school productions I was always the dancer or acrobat,” added Errol. “This time I really wanted a speaking part, so for the audition I performed a monologue given by the character Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. I was thrilled to learn that I won a role in 12 Angry Jurors.”

In addition to acting and playwriting, Errol is a choreographer and an active member of Queensborough’s initiative, Men Achieving in Excellence and Success (MALES).


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