“After Valley” highlights select Valley Christian alumni of all ages, from our first graduating class of 1986 to our most recent graduates.
Courtney Cheatham ’06
This “After Valley” profile was originally posted in March 2014.
Post Valley, I attended Biola University. Much like my over-extended H.S. extracurricular life, College held the same agenda. I chose to begin working for Disney the second semester of my Freshman year, and continued there for the nearly 7 years after that in four different entertainment positions/locations, (including Disney’s Cruise Line “Fantasy” on the mainstage, and as Jasmine in Aladdin: a Musical Spectacular!). I also attended the British American Drama Academy in Oxford for an Acting program before signing with my agent and beginning the daily actor grind of auditions, rehearsals, and shows. God has been so faithful!!!
Tell us a little about your daily work:
Each day looks different! I am either auditioning, taking dance/vocal class, or working production for a show. During off season, or around my show schedules I work as a Makeup Artist for Mac Cosmetics and doing special events (weddings, etc.) Currently I’m on hiatus so my weekly 9-12 “Barbie Live!” shows is on hold until April! I will be entering 9 hour day rehearsals for Les Miserables (as Cosette) then performing weekends until I’m off to tour again!
What’s one surprising thing we don’t know about you?
I am the original Katniss Everdeen. I can hit a bullseye at 30 yards with a bow and arrow (since I was 8 years old.)
While you were at VCHS, which teachers, coaches or classmates had the biggest impact on you?
Firstly, Linda Yarbrough was one of the most influential individuals who truly shaped who I am. She was emotionally supportive, challenged me vocally and was a mentor in my spiritual life. I am still close to her now!
My acting teacher told me not to be an actor. Haha, Sherri Templeton only told me this, as it had nothing to do with skills, or the fun of being an actor, but the hardship of putting oneself in one of the darkest industries in our culture. However, the pull of the Holy Spirit to work in Entertainment never wavered, but only grew stronger, and it is because of my strong foundation, (contributed to by Mrs. T), that I am functioning in this industry with a Christ-first focus.
Marianne Sloterbeek and I were friends through her student teaching at Valley near the end of my H.S. life and we maintain personal and professional relationships to this day! I am so thankful for her as a teacher, confidante, and as my friend!
How do you stay connected with your friends from Valley and VCHS?
My incredible little sister, Ally Cheatham attended Valley after I did graduating in 2011.
Three of my closest friends are from my Valley years. Including Emilee Dunn has been my precious redhead, (she is also my roommate here in California), encouraging and supporting me on a daily basis through every low and exciting high! I have also maintained close friendships with the incomparably fabulous Abigail Lucero, and my drama girl partner in crime Megan (Gjersvig) Schaulis. (And as I said, continuing to work with Mrs. Yarbrough and Marianne Heim. I couldn’t ask for a better support system.
What’s one lasting memory you have of VCHS?
High School for me was a collection of moments that string together in a blend of memory. Cheer, choir, speech-drama, chorale, student council, worship team, worship team leadership, drama council, and office aide. But one that truly sticks out is the “Disney Revue” production put on my Choir and Chorale in ’04-’05. I was choreographing, assistant directing, and performing! It was also just a precious memory of my friends, music, and lots of laughter.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Soak it in. Don’t take your Bible classes for granted. Do everything. I was in so many clubs and on so many teams and councils, it shaped High School. There was never a dull moment. You are never going to be in this setting again. Listen to the people around you, they really are smarter. Invest in your relationships. I cannot express the gratitude I have for those who still pray for, and encourage me on this journey all the way from my H.S. days. They are my prayer warriors. And when every day is a battle field, you need every soldier you can get! If you focus on your FOUNDATION, you will be ready for any storm.
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