Duke University's Student of the Month
Melissa Carrico, a theater student at Durham School of the Arts, seems wise beyond her years.
The senior, who is heading to Duke University next fall to pursue a degree in either business or political science, has an aura of sophistication one might expect of someone who has grown up in the theater.
“I’m thrilled to be able to stay in Durham another four years,” said Carrico, who sports a 4.77 GPA and received an early-decision from Duke. “I love the food, the city itself and the way it has evolved since I moved here.”
Carrico has attended DSA since sixth-grade and is as accomplished as she is sophisticated.
One of her many crowning achievements is directing the play “Hedda Gabler” by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, who is also her favorite.
Carrico was in charge of advertising for the play, designed the costumes, produced the play and acted in the lead role.
It was her work producing “Hedda Gabler” that has Carrico thinking about pursuing a degree in business.
“Directing that play really showed me the business side of theater,” said Carrico, but quickly adds that she also enjoys performing.
But there’s no denying that she has a special talent for organizing and producing events.
As president of the junior class last year, Carrico organized a battle of the bands.
“I loved that, organizing it and directing all the bands, holding the auditions and handling the advertising,” Carrico said.
In addition to her theater work, Carrico was a starter on the school’s tennis team, president of the DSA’s National Honor Society, president of the local chapter of the Thespians Society, which focuses on honoring and celebrating theatrical arts and is heading up the school’s prom committee.
Carrico said her work on National Honor Society has opened many important doors.
“It exposed me to other organizations outside of my school, particularly in the arts,” Carrico said.
One such organization was Durham Wayfinders, which led to volunteer opportunities at the Durham Performing Arts Center.
DSA Principal David Hawks described Carrico as a self-starter who is very driven, but also a very caring person.
“She has shown, besides just being a very academically and artistically driven, that she also cares about the greater whole of the school,” Hawks said.
He said Carrico is a really “good citizen” of our school and a leader, and he expects she will continue to be that in life after DSA.
“She is just the complete graduation package of a student who is ready to go out and take on whatever challenges she finds in the world and college,” Hawks said.
He said Carrico will not go to Duke and only do well for herself.
“She’s the type of student who will be worthwhile alumna of both Duke and this institution also,” Hawks said. “She has a lot of passion for life and her school and she’s a really good actress.”
Hawks praised her production of “Hedda Gabler.”
“That’s not something that you have often,” Hawks said. “It was a high-quality production.”
GPA: 4.77 weighted
School: Durham School of the Arts
School Activities: President of the DSA National Honor Society, chairwoman of the Prom Committee, president of the Thespians Society, Varsity tennis team
Favorite Books: Reads mostly plays. Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen is a favorite.
Favorite Music: Alternative, Indie and theatrical