Cat Kashiwa leaves lasting legacy to NEST, drama, and more

by Trevor Cook, Reporter

Lights, Camera, Action!

During a NEST broadcast or a play performed by Shorewood Drama, a lot of behind the scenes work is put into production to make things run as smoothly as possible. Over the past four years, senior Cat Kashiwa has been a big part of what makes these events special. In addition to the NEST and Drama, Kashiwa has devoted their time to Robotics, Math Team, Tennis, and Swim.

photo courtesy of Catalina Kashiwa

Since the fall of their freshman year, Kashiwa has been an anchor and a script writer for the NEST. Kashiwa originally joined the NEST team because she was interested in working behind the scenes on broadcasts. “I’ve had previous experience working with music technology and video editing, and was excited to continue those interests in high school,” she said.

As for becoming an anchor, Kashiwa says it was just by chance. “I actually wasn’t very interested in reporting, I just happened to walk in while the advisor, Mr. Ballew was handing out anchor tryouts,” said Kashiwa. 

Eager to try out something new, Kashiwa bravely signed up for tryouts and hasn’t looked back since. As nerve-wracking as reporting in front of the entire school can be, it’s one of Kashiwa’s favorite experiences. “It’s fun! Usually you work in pairs to write the script and record together,” she said. “It’s a lot more interesting working in-person on the set with everyone else and seeing all the equipment.”

The COVID-19 pandemic completely switched the way the NEST operated, forcing Kashiwa and others to adapt quickly to the changes.

The absence of in-person school for most of the year made producing the NEST very difficult, and the cast had to work extra hard to put it all together. In the past, video bulletins were done by small groups that met often, but now the process was more independent. 

Kashiwa explained, “For our group videos, we’d all come together to brainstorm and create our idea, but in the end it’s up to everyone to do their part to make the finished video.” Even through the challenges and frustrations, Kashiwa was able to find enjoyment through their favorite part of the NEST. 

“I really love getting to see all the ideas for videos get made into reality. At the start of the year it felt very confusing organizing the NEST online, yet we all pulled together our creativity to make our group video, which was my favorite to edit.”

The changes to the NEST from remote learning forced Kashiwa to step up and take on more responsibilities. Before the pandemic, Kashiwa was just beginning to be trained as a floor-director and now she takes on several more roles. “Currently, I’m working as a video creator, editor, and captioner and am the executive producer for the NEST,” said Kashiwa. 

She knew that in order to keep the NEST running smoothly, they had to step out of their comfort zone and take on difficult tasks. “Prior to COVID, I mostly did anchoring and scriptwriting. This year, I stepped up to create the framework for our broadcasts. I created the schedules, deadlines, established roles, collected and organized video files, and managed communication for the club,” she said. “If a video was missing, someone was running late, or any technical issues occurred, I would be the go-to.” Kashiwa became a leader for the NEST crew during the pandemic and is one of the main contributors to keeping the NEST running during a remote learning period.

On top of doing almost everything for the NEST, Kashiwa has also spent the past four years working as a theater technician for Shorewood Drama.

Similar to the NEST, Kashiwa’s inspiration for joining the theater tech team is attributed to their childhood interests. “In elementary school I would help with the sound system for plays and assemblies. I was interested in continuing this passion and decided to join Shorewood Drama’s Sound Crew,” said Kashiwa. 

As head of the Sound Crew, Kashiwa is in charge of everything you hear during the play. “For musicals, that includes everything from the pit to the stage, and even the intermission music. I’m in charge of finding sound effects and music. I schedule mic changes between scenes and put mics on actors,” said Kashiwa. In their free time, Kashiwa also trains people who are interested in joining Sound Crew and helps with set building.

Unfortunately, during a pandemic the show cannot go on in-person, and theater tech is a hobby Kashiwa misses a lot.

“I really loved the games and traditions we had before the shows. It’s something I’ve definitely been missing from this online format. I’ve also really loved the community here whether that’s in sound, tech, or theater as a whole,” Kashiwa said.

Kashiwa hopes to continue broadcasting and reporting in college. “I’ve started connecting with UW’s Esports broadcast crew and have been looking into joining The Daily (UW’s student-run newspaper) for their photography and videography departments,” she said.

Kashiwa said that she did enjoy music technology and videography as a hobby but she doesn’t plan on pursuing it as a career. On a final note she added, “It’s definitely been considered though, and you never know!”