All the world’s a stage
By Michaela Pasewark
Photos by Julian White-Davis
Chris Danko’s adolescent head bent over the paper, listening intently at the words coming out of his friend Brent Visser’s mouth. Danko watched Visser’s hand slide across the paper, exposing the many ways a tic-tac-toe game can go – and of course, how to win. Although tired after completing one of many Shakespeare plays he has participated in, Danko still had the energy to learn even something that seems so trivial from his friend, Visser.
Not every play in Danko’s life has ended with a celebration of tic-tac-toe at Applebee’s. Danko recalls a time when his mother started hugging him the middle of one of his plays, obviously upset, but not yet understanding why. Upon finishing, he was met with news that Visser had ended his life.
The age difference may have been approaching 10 years, but that did not stop them from becoming good friends through the theater program, Short Shakespeareans. Participating in his first play at three years old, Danko took a quick liking to theater – causing him to look up to Visser and his accomplishments in the arts.
Now a junior at Wenatchee High School, Danko is still impacted by the life and death of his friend. It does not just extend to his theater and other activities, but also to the way he goes about life and treats those close to him. “It just helped me realize the value of life and to hold onto the people and things that are here because they could be gone in that moment,” Danko said.
He also now helps people coping with depression in their life. Danko firmly believes that everyone on this earth has a gift, and that it should be protected at all costs. Even if he may not like someone, he appreciates them and what they can give to the world.
“It’s like I didn’t really acknowledge them before and now I can see people’s gifts and can see what they have to give that’s different than everyone else.”
Danko himself is not only gifted with a positive outlook on life, but with his passion for many different things – ranging from theater and music to journalism and academics. The death of a loved one is possibly the most difficult things anyone could face, but the things Danko has learned have prompted him to be an inspiration for those who want to make a difference.
“No matter what the situation is there is always a way out,” said Danko, who said he is passionate about helping others cope with their depression.