SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - South Plainfield resident Brett Temple graduated from Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School (MCVTS) in East Brunswick on June 25 and, with a 5.0 GPA, earned the prestigious honor of being named valedictorian of the Class of 2015. Temple, who was enrolled in the school’s theatre program, will be attending Rutgers University – Mason Gross in the fall where, as a member of the BFA acting program he will also be able to study abroad at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.
“At the moment my main interest is acting, but I want to get top-notch acting training and have that strong foundation in the arts, so I can try directing or teaching or producing at one point in my future,” Temple said.
The son of Maggie and Jeffrey Temple of South Plainfield, Temple first became interested in the arts at a young age. He performed in shows at John E. Riley Elementary School and, in fourth grade, was in the advanced art classes (LAMP). Additionally, he also spent three summers with the South Plainfield Summer Drama Workshop.
Temple said he chose the four-year conservatory at MCVTS because it offered him the chance to experiment in all different aspects of theatre – acting, design, playwriting, directing, etc. “Although not widely known, MCVTS is probably the best performing art schools in New Jersey. The school is set up so you are able to train half a day in your desired career major,” said Temple, adding that his instructor, Maria Aladren, was a phenomenal teacher. “She really sets you up to become a strong artist with a voice,” he said.
Through the theater program, Temple had the opportunity to perform in numerous school productions and also wrote and directed a short film entitled The Wake for the MCVTS 2015 Senior Showcase. Additionally, he had a main role in the feature-film When The Moon Was Twice As Big and an episode of Discovery ID's Mansions and Murders.
During his time at MCVTS, Temple was also active in a sports and a variety of extracurricular activities. He served as president of the National Technical Honor Society (2014-2015), was vice president of Class Council (2012-2015) and a member of the International Thespian Society. Temple, who was named to the Principal’s List each year at MCVTS, was also involved with varsity cross country and the volleyball club, was a GMC Scholar Athlete and a NJTAC Scholar Athlete. Additionally, he was a Green Ambassador, treasurer of the Gay-Straight Alliance and voice of the morning announcements, all the while maintaining stellar academic success.
“Valedictorian wasn't something on my mind when I first came to the school. It wasn't until I got straight A’s my first marking period that I realized it was something I could work toward achieving,” said Temple, who in addition to Rutgers, was accepted into the BFA acting programs at Boston University, Syracuse University, DePaul University and University of Minnesota.
This summer, Temple is spending his days in Manhattan performing in the MCVTS production of “The Education Project” at the eco-friendly Plant Connections Theatre Festival. “The Education Project,” according to Temple, is a collaborative, student written piece about the education system in the United States. “Me and about 15 other students helped write and create it and I will be acting in the role I wrote,” Temple said.
Additionally, he will also be spending some time in Pennsylvania wrapping up his role on the feature film When The Moon Was Twice As Big. The Bill Jacobs film, according to www.IMDB.com, follows the life of a boy named Jack and his passion for astronomy and space exploration who is inspired by an extraordinary new friend, his test-pilot father, and history unfolding with first steps on the moon. But fate alters his course: “In 2009, and about to turn fifty, adult Jack is faced with a choice: continue going through the motions of life – or take one giant leap of faith and reclaim the dreams of his youth,” states the website.
“He is faced with the choice of accepting his reality and settling or following his childhood dream,” said Temple, who plays Jack’s son Michael. “It's kind of a Forrest Gump-like movie that affects everyone in a different way.”
For Temple, landing this role is a dream-come-true. “I sent in a couple of video auditions then I finally got called in to read at the New York City auditions. A month later I found out I got the part,” he said, adding, “It was big! I had done a handful of short films and student films but never a feature-film and especially of this caliber.”
To others who aspire to pursue a career in the arts – or any other field for that matter – Temple offers the following advice: “Go! Do it! Go with everything you’ve got and don't settle. Find the best training. Expose yourself to the best art. And read. Read, read, read. I think this applies to any dream!”