“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
Fullerton High School Senior Tate Heinle has been selected as one of only three finalists for the Orange County Artist of the Year for non-classical vocal music. Heinle is the only student from Fullerton High School and the Fullerton Joint Union High School District to receive this honor.
The three finalists were selected from 13 vocal music semi-finalists of among 507 students competing from 88 Orange County high schools.
Inspiration is sometimes found in unlikely and unexpected places. Such was the case for Fullerton Union High School’s Tate Heinle. For most of his elementary and junior high years, he was an active participant in softball and soccer and was not involved in the arts until his freshman year of high school. As an incoming ninth grader, his father encouraged him to try the Triple Threat (singing, dance and drama) program at FUHS and he has never looked back.
To date, Heinle has participated in 15 musical and drama productions. In addition to singing, dancing and acting, he conceived set designs for three shows and constructed sets for 15. He is the current president of the Thespian Club and is a member of the Tri-M Honors Society, Choral Music Club, and Drama Club on campus. He applied to and was accepted to 16 universities. Clearly, he is no stranger to hard work and diligence.
In ninth grade, Heinle came out as transgender. He found support in family and friends but realizes that not everyone in his position is as fortunate. He wants to advocate on behalf of transgender youth by continuing to audition for male roles and giving voice to those who might not have the courage or support of others. In the future, he hopes to gain connections to others who might be willing to collaborate with him in reaching more transgender teens and offering a safe space for help and support.
Despite adverse times and people, he has managed to overcome many obstacles in his young life. A turning point for him was during his junior year when he decided to stop trying to please others. It was during this time that he gained the necessary confidence that allowed him to take risks and grow as an artist.
Since then, he has had numerous accolades. A short list of accomplishments includes multiple superior ratings at the California State Thespian Festival, being chosen to perform at the International Thespian Festival, placing first at the VoCal Competition, receiving the Highest Achievement Award at the M.A.C.Y. (Music and Arts Commendation for Youth) Awards, being a finalist for musical theater at the South Coast Singers Competition, being a multi-finalist for the SCVA Vocal Competition Awards, and the current honor of being one of three finalists for OC Artist of the Year.
In the fall, Heinle has committed to DePaul University in Chicago where he plans to pursue a BFA degree in theater arts. In the next five years, he hopes to still be performing and possibly directing or teaching high school theater. With the many talents he possesses as well as his determination and work ethic, it is safe to say that this young man has a very bright future.
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