Meet Teshi Thomas: a teenage actress, singer and Nevada Virtual Academy (NVVA) student who has performed on Broadway and live on national TV! This hardworking young star most recently could be spotted in XQ Super School Live, a major network TV event which aired live on NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox on September 8.
This hour-long special invited the public to rethink education at the high school level. The star-studded list of celebrity participants included Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson and Chance the Rapper, and Teshi had the opportunity to personally meet a number of celebrities, including Viola Davis and Jennifer Hudson.
During the event, Teshi can be found singing and dancing on stage. Additionally, viewers can see her featured in the studio-recorded music video as a soloist in the opening song, “Don’t You Forget About Me” by the Simple Minds.
“It was such an amazing experience to reach out to teachers, educators and people all around the world about introducing new and creative ways to instruct students and rethink high school,” Teshi said. “My role was a teen girl, like me, who wants to remind the world not to forget about America’s education. It was an honor to record in the music studio and remake Simple Minds’ classic song.”
Teshi began singing at the age of three and acting at age 6. Previously, she spent time on Broadway, playing the role of Young Nala in Disney’s The Lion King.
Teshi’s mother, Evonne, enrolled her in NVVA as a fifth grader because of bullying, audition demands and the family’s travel schedule. Since joining NVVA, the flexible program has allowed Teshi to dedicate the essential time for her demanding work schedule.
“The administration and teachers have been more than accommodating to Teshi’s schedule,” Evonne said. “When she’s at an acting job, she travels with her laptop and participates in at least three hours of school each day. Every job is different, and therefore call times vary, so Teshi attends school when it is conducive with her film schedule.”
The flexibility that NVVA provides her is Teshi’s favorite part about the program. “I travel back and forth from Las Vegas to Los Angeles three or four times a week,” she explained. “Occasionally, I may have anywhere from 4-to-12 auditions a month,” so the ability to complete her schoolwork on the road has become a major factor to Teshi’s academic success.
Evonne believes that her daughter has been challenged academically by her online school. “NVVA provides highly structured, rigorous academics while allowing Teshi to pursue her acting career and speaking opportunities,” she said. “It would be difficult for Teshi to travel, audition, and film if not for NVVA.”
Due to the nature of the online curriculum, Teshi is required to be responsible and remain on task. “Procrastination on assignments results in failing grades and could keep Teshi from obtaining her entertainment work permit in California and New York,” Evonne said. “All grades must be satisfactory and require a signature from the registrar to verify such.”
Teshi will soon be traveling with a dance convention called Camp PULSE. Through this opportunity, Teshi will be able to learn from skilled choreographers in the industry and gain experience mentoring other students as a lead counselor.
Check out a few photos of Teshi at XQ Super School Live and on Broadway below!