SCARBOROUGH — Most students’ extracurricular activities involve a sport, or musical group.
Eric Lehmann prefers a different activity.
Lehmann, a 17-year-old senior at Scarborough High School, first discovered his “niche” of setting up for school productions and events when he was in eighth grade.
“When I was in middle school, I was always interested in setting up projectors for stuff,” Lehmann said Tuesday. “I always had a niche, and I guess it never faded.”
In high school, Lehmann has devoted seven to 10 hours a week to setting up equipment for a variety of plays, musicals, concerts, and assemblies. This year, he has also volunteered setting up sound equipment for the Portland Players community theater in South Portland.
Assistant Principal Sue Ketch said Lehman has “volunteered endlessly” during his time at SHS.
“He has done lights and sound for K-12 concerts, shows, Oak Hill Players (the high school musical), the high school one-act (play), outside rentals, community services, senior placement, open house, etc.,” Ketch said. “He is a sweet young man and has done a lot of service for this school system.”
Lehmann said his duties include everything from arranging lights, prepping sound systems and microphones, to arranging chairs and tables on an as-needed basis.
He has taken theater classes, which have led him to consider moving out from behind the scenes and into the spotlight, but Lehmann said, “I don’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy being backstage.”
His behind-the-scenes role requires him to communicate and collaborate with teachers on each project, because “everybody needs something different,” he said.
Although a lot of the work is the “same kinds of things, we have a lot of of different teachers to figure out what they need and make sure that everything is all set for the rehearsal and productions,” Lehmann said.
During preparation for the musical each year, it’s common for Lehmann to work an additional 25 hours a week, but he doesn’t mind. “It’s really like being apart of the musical team,” he said.
After graduation, Lehmann will work for the town of Scarborough “doing computer support work,” a job he has had for the last few summers.
He is continuing with “the whole theater tech thing” next year, too, at Husson University’s New England School of Communications, where he will work toward a Bachelor of Science degree in entertainment production.
Lehmann plans to focus mostly on lighting, which will help prepare him for a variety of options, he said, including “theater, corporate events, cruise ships, road shows.”
“Basically, I’ll take any job that will hire me that will allow me to do what I love,” Lehmann said.
Volunteering in this capacity “has definitely been a huge part of my high school life,” Lehmann said. “I was never big on sports, so this was my main activity, and I enjoyed doing it, so I stuck with it.
“It’s one of those things where I can’t imagine not doing it,” he said.
Eric Lehmann, a senior at Scarborough High School, has been involved in the production side of plays and events since he was in middle school. In the fall, he will major in entertainment production at Husson University’s New England School of Communications.
Scarborough High School commencement exercises will be held for the Class of 2015 at 7 p.m., Sunday, June 7, at Cross Insurance Arena in downtown Portland.