Class of 2018: Freeport grad thrives behind the scenes

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FREEPORT — To teachers and school administrators, Kellsie Britton stands out.

But, throughout high school, she always preferred being behind the scenes.

Britton, a Freeport native, said she loves the performing arts, but opts to take part in them as part of the tech crew and stage managing.

When asked why she prefers working behind the curtain, rather than center stage, Britton said she loves “being in charge.”

“I love being able to organize something and run it and then watch the outcome,” she said. “(It can be) good or bad, but at least I was able to put in my all and create this family with everyone involved.”

Britton has also been singing and playing clarinet since elementary school. Participating in the high school’s jazz band, women’s ensemble and theatre program – all while taking honors and Advanced Placement courses – kept Britton plenty busy. 

For this reason, Britton is often selected for prospective students at FHS to shadow. Principal Jennifer Gulko said “Kellsie Britton” is the first name that comes to her guidance counselor’s mind when they need a student to be shadowed or a mentor for a new student.

“Kellsie treats everyone with respect and carries herself in a way that is a model for others,” Gulko said. “She is always willing to help someone, be it a peer or a staff member, and does so with a smile.”

Managing a hectic schedule, while maintaining that smile, is something Kellsie said she learned to do with a little advice from her mother, who told her it’s OK to not be perfect at everything because she will always be proud of her. 

“She reassured me that she’s never going to be disappointed with me for what I’ve done, and it made me realize I don’t have to be perfect at everything,” Britton said. After she turned 18, Britton got a sound-wave of her mother telling her just this tattooed on her forearm. 

“I always have her words of wisdom with me,” she said.

Overcoming a “perfectionist mindset,” Britton said, was an obstacle she was proud to conquer in high school.

“To get into college, I felt like I had to excel, not only in school, but it extracurricular,” she said. “I had … to realize that not everything is going to be perfect or happen the way you want it to … you just have to give it your all and try your best.”

Whatever her method, it has paid off for Britton. In the fall, she will attend the University of Maine at Farmington with the hope of becoming a high school English and/or Latin teacher. 

Britton said she’s always been interested in teaching because school has been such an inspiration and important part of her life growing up. 

“All the teachers I’ve had over the years have really inspired me to want to be like them in different aspects to become a teacher myself,” she said. 

Britton plans to keep busy in college, too. She said she hopes to continue singing and playing clarinet, though not professionally. She also plans to get involved in the university’s theatre program. 

But for now, she is focusing on finishing up her senior project – stage managing and designing a set for a fashion show she and a friend put on – and planning a summer camping trip to New York with her friends after graduation on Sunday, June 10, at 10 a.m. at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

When asked what advice 18-year-old Kellsie would give to a freshman-year version of herself, Britton said it’d be “don’t be afraid to try things that you’re terrified of doing.” 

“I was so afraid of (joining the tech crew) because I was afraid of upperclassmen, but it was also probably the best opportunity I had to develop relationships with them and be able to learn from them,” she said. 

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

After graduating June 10, Freeport High School senior Kellsie Britton will enjoy the summer with friends before heading to the University of Maine at Farmington in the fall with the hope of becoming a high school English and/or Latin teacher.