The Scoop: Whitney Shumaker

Ms. Shumaker, or Ms. S as she would prefer to be called, is a first year drama and film teacher at HCS. She began her journey in the arts as a musical theater junkie, is trained in ballet, and spent most of her early years preparing to be a triple threat on broadway. She attended Stella Adler School of Acting & Theatre in New York City and studied method acting. Throughout her time in the city she worked at a local dance studio, attended elite dance classes with well respected choreographers, and spent all of her time within the theatre community.

As time progressed, she shared that “God revealed to me that theatre was becoming an idol in my life and worked in my heart to change my motives and aspirations.” Eventually, she realized that the place where she could reach the most people and have the greatest impact for Christ is in the film industry. She believes that the purpose for everyone’s gifts and talents is to further the Gospel. When she was 19 years old, she travelled to Los Angeles for a summer program offered through her college. She began auditioning in front of casting directors and soon realized that she would be placed into the young adult “Gossip Girl” category of film, which would most likely put her in uncomfortable and inappropriate situations. She decided, however, that she wanted to be a part of the solution in Hollywood, and not add to the problem. Shumaker noted, “This was the key moment in which I realized that I was called to be a director.” This realization led her to study filmmaking at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma. Through this experience, she was grounded and solidified in her faith. 

After finishing her studies, she took every opportunity available to gain experience behind the camera. She worked on numerous major motion pictures, as well as smaller independent films. Although teaching was never on her radar, encouragement from current HCS history teacher Mr. Miner led her to begin her teaching journey this year. Because of her extensive background in the film industry, she is highly qualified and has a lot to offer her students. For example, she shared with us the three major qualities to making it in the industry: likeability, good work ethic, and talent. The reason she has felt compelled to be a teacher is because of the present darkness in Hollywood. She hopes to produce new filmmakers who can make a positive impact and will not cower away from the challenge. She is passionate about the new generation representing women, minorities, and setting a Godly example to those around them. In her words, “I think that we need people with good values and good moral grounding to be able to go into Hollywood and change it.”

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