From introversion to the spotlight

  • Raichlin and Shayna Sunday performing in Fame
Alon Raichlin went from introversion to finding his place in the spotlight in matric in four incredible years.
by JORDAN MOSHE | Jan 16, 2020

Initially an introverted pupil, this King David Victory Park matriculant not only soared academically, but became a star actor and musician to boot. This after nearly failing Grade 9.

With a passion for music, a flair for the stage, and a pair of feet capable of dancing to any rhythm, the 18-year-old showman is a far cry from the shy boy of a few years ago.

This wasn’t on the cards in his early years at Yeshiva Maharsha. “In my primary years, I struggled socially,” Raichlin says. “I tended to keep to myself most of the time. I wasn’t particularly impressive academically or in sport.

Things changed when he got to King David, but his first year there in Grade 9, he was so focused on making friends, his academics suffered.

“My marks dropped significantly,” he says. “My parents and I met with the school, which agreed to push me through on the understanding that I would try twice as hard in Grade 10.”

He did exactly that, achieving distinctions in various subjects, and earned full colours in academics in his final years of high school. One of the elements underlying his success was a new-found ability to shine on stage which came to light in school productions.

His performance in the musical Grease left audiences stunned by his dancing ability, a coup which he repeated with even greater success the following year in the school’s production of Fame.

“I’ve always been drawn to theatre and music,” says Raichlin. They enable me to express myself, my thoughts, and my bundled-up energy. They are wonderful opportunities to build close friendships and make memories, and they spiced up my high-school experience.”

Raichlin admits it was often difficult to balance schoolwork with all these commitments. Nevertheless, his academic achievements proved as exceptional as his dramatic performances. Taking music, dramatic arts, and history, Raichlin walked away with five distinctions for matric.

In addition, he played first-team soccer and was one of the select few South African representatives to participate in the Diller Teen Fellows programme.

Raichlin will spend the first half of 2020 in Tel Aviv on a gap-semester programme called Aardvark, followed by a stint as a madrich for two months at an American summer camp. He then hopes to study either in Israel or South Africa.

Looking back, he says he learnt the importance of trying his hardest, doing his best, and taking part as much as he possibly can.

“When you look back, you remember those character-defining moments. Matric doesn’t mean cutting out fun in order to study. If I’ve learnt anything this year, it’s the skill of moderation,” he says. “Extremism is easy. It’s the attractive option. But I believe the mark of a truly successful, healthy person is the ability to moderate fun and graft. A truly enjoyable and healthy matric should contain elements of both.”

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