Petrewski Debuts at Hills


Her favorite musicals were Hairspray, Emma: A Pop Musical, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Lebrit-Petrewski)

Hannah DeVoe, Staff Reporter

This year Warren Hills Regional High School has welcomed Mrs. Nicole Lebrit-Petrewski as the new Theater Arts teacher and Drama Club advisor.

Petrewski began her acting education at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City. She furthered her education at Arcadia University, where she earned her BA in Theater Arts and English.  She then continued her education at Columbia College, where she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Petrewski said she has been performing since she was young, and served as an assistant teacher at her dance school during high school. After college, she took a job choreographing at a summer musical theater camp.

Petrewski later moved to San Diego, where she taught dance and theater at various performing arts schools, and this was when teaching became a full-time career for her.

“I did not plan on it at first.  I fell into it after college when I started teaching at performing arts studios,” she said. “When I came back to the East Coast after living in San Diego, I got a job teaching dance and theater; that is when I officially decided I wanted to be a drama teacher.”

Petrewski said she still draws on activities she learned in high school in preparing her students. 

“I use some of the same exercises I was taught there and always think back to what I enjoyed most as a high schooler when I plan out acting lessons now,” she said. “I adapted much of the studio style of class that I was taught for my own classes.”

Even when not teaching at a school, she continues to help kids start their drama careers.

“I also teach dance over the summer and work as a choreographer and director for youth productions,” she said.

Petrewski said she enjoys many different aspects about her job, especially when seeing the hard work that goes into the shows.

“My favorite thing is watching everything come together at the end,” she said,  “and seeing all the hard work the students have put in throughout the rehearsal process come to fruition for the final show.”

Petrewski said she considers several things when  choosing potential productions.

“I read a variety of scripts and keep in mind a few things—the possible cast of students we will have and what will be best for them; budget/costs; what shows we just did and hope to do—I try to keep a mix of things in mind,”  she said.

Petrewski closed with some advice for teens who may want to pursue a career in drama.

“Try it out now.  It is easy to get summer jobs that will allow you to work in the arts with kids as camp counselors,” she said. “That way, you can see if you like it and see what it takes.”