CYT presents: Video Curriculum

Wanna learn a triple time step from the comfort of your living room? How about learn how a CYT director prepares for callbacks? Or a helpful game to hold the attention of students and keep them quiet?

Enter CYT Video Curriculum.

CYT thinks it’s important for everyone to have access to arts education, so they started a small library of dance, theater games, and director videos via a playlist on their YouTube channel.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.49.36 PM They want to develop more and more instructional videos so CYT students can work on their craft whenever they have free time. In the future, CYT plans to incorporate these videos with registration software so students can automatically have access to them when they register for a CYT class.

Making quality videos takes time and resources, and if you’d like to contribute toward making them possible, please donate at:

I’d write more but I’m going to go learn how to do the buffalo.

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CYT founders celebrate 40 years of marriage!

Paul & Sheryl Russell looking fancy at a recent CYT Portland gala

Paul & Sheryl Russell looking fancy at a recent CYT Portland gala

CYT founders Paul and Sheryl Russell celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday! That is a huge milestone that should be celebrated!

We thought we would rally everyone together to give them the best anniversary gift ever: a donation to CYT Inc. What better way to honor Paul and Sheryl than by helping to support the organization they built from the ground up?

A gift of support to CYT will act as a thank you for them pouring their effort and love into the organization that has changed all of our lives.

To make a gift, simply go to When you make your gift you can also leave a message of congratulations for them in the “comments” box!

Let’s celebrate with Paul and Sheryl – 40 years is amazing!

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HYPE students reflect on the CYT EXPO


HYPE students were super excited to attend the EXPO this year. And they were not disappointed.

About 48 members of High School Youth Pursuing Excellence gathered together in Houston at this year’s CYT EXPO to reunite with each other, meet new members, attend HYPE-focused workshops, and join other CYT students in the gazillion other activities that the EXPO had to offer. Here are some highlights from their weekend:

A team building activity they did called "Laser-Beam Boogie"

A team building activity they did called “Laser-Beam Boogie”

The HYPE students who attended came from Denver, Fredericksburg, Houston, Kansas City, Phoenix, San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Spokane – a total of 8 cities represented! Fredericksburg just started HYPE last month and they sent 14 students!

After Dark dance party!

After Dark dance party!

Students attended workshops with themes of “Who Do You Identify With?”, “Who Are You Reflecting?”, “The HYPE Model” and “Creative Conflict Management.” They also were involved in presenting at a “HYPE for All” workshop for all students interested in joining HYPE.

An activity called "The Mirror Activity" from the HYPE workshop "Who Are You Reflecting?"

An activity called “The Mirror Activity” from the HYPE workshop “Who Are You Reflecting?”

A lot of adult leaders also attended the “HYPE for All” workshop, meaning that the interest for starting HYPE in many more cities is high! We are so excited to see how HYPE will continue to grow this year.

One of the "After Dark" rehearsals with Jon Lorenz

One of the “After Dark” rehearsals with Jon Lorenz

A couple thoughts from some of the students:

My favorite part is a bit clichéd, but still, it was getting to meet all the people from other areas. It’s just so cool that you get to see what other areas are up to and see the similarities and differences between that area and your own. Also needless to say all the people you meet are really cool and amazing!” – Christian Spangler, HYPE San Diego

“I thought it was awesome when we learned about the HYPE roles, and I found out that my role last year is actually super awesome, and that I want to have that role again this year!” – Chrissy Nefe, HYPE Denver

“The Expo for me was a very enlightening and awesome experience. It felt like the CYT I had always known and it was comforting to know that the family extends to all parts of the country. It really put the shear scope of the impact CYT has into perspective. I know now that wherever there is a CYT, I have a home. I feel like the experience is a must for any upcoming HYPE President to make connections and get ideas about how to improve their area of HYPE. There was also the awesome showcase and the chance to make great friends. Nothing else like it.” – Sean Grossnickle, HYPE Kansas City

Thank you to all the HYPE students who attended the EXPO this year! Learn more about how you can get involved with the HYPE in your CYT area HERE.

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CYT student named 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California

Marisa Gomez 2

Marisa Gomez will represent the state at the National Finals in Mobile, Alabama

CYT San Diego student Marisa Gomez is an amazing young woman. So much so that she was just named the 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California! Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. Out of 29 girls in this year’s State Finals, Marisa claimed the title. Below is the official press release.

Congrats Marisa!

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Marisa Gomez from San Diego has been selected to represent the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2015. Twenty-nine outstanding young women from across the state spent the week in Bakersfield rehearsing for the program and participating in community events, which culminated with the State Finals on July 26 at Harvey Auditorium. The young women competed in the categories of scholastics (20%), interview (25%), talent (25%), fitness (15%), and self-expression (15%).

Marisa is a rising senior at Academy of Our Lady of Peace, and her parents are Manual Gomez and the late Maria Gomez. She participates in extracurricular activities such as Christian Youth Theatre and speech team. Marisa aspires to attend Princeton, Yale or Fordham University and become a lawyer or psychologist. She will represent California at the National Finals of Distinguished Young Women in June 2015 in Mobile, Alabama.

Marisa Gomez 1

“Distinguished Young Women has given me amazing role models and opened so many new doors for me,” said Marisa Gomez, 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California. “I’m honored to represent my DYW sisters this next year, and I am so grateful and excited to be given the opportunity to spread awareness of this program and make a difference through it!”

Marisa earned $15,000 in cash scholarships during the state program. An additional $24,500 in scholarships were awarded to other participants during the preliminary and final nights of the program.

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CYT EXPO through Instagram

What would CYT EXPO be without an Instagram Scavenger Hunt? It wouldn’t be CYT EXPO at all. The powers that be led the students on a Scavenger Hunt to capture some pretty inventive moments. We don’t know whose more creative – the people that came up with the list, or the students. You decide.

Too Much Caffeine

Too Much Caffeine

The Perfect Side Hug

The Perfect Side Hug

Planking Is Still Cool

Planking Is Still Cool

Photo Bomb

Photo Bomb

Open Mouth Smile

Open Mouth Smile

Let's Hear It For the Girls

Let’s Hear It For the Girls

Jon Lorenz

Jon Lorenz





Best CYT Mom

Best CYT Mom’s in the World

As Many Russells as you can Muster

As Many Russells as you can Muster

Read a full recap of the 2014 CYT EXPO.

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A recap of the 2014 CYT EXPO

It has been a couple weeks since the 2014 CYT EXPO. And it has taken us that long to come down from the high and wrap our brains around what a fantastic weekend it was. We are going to go out on a limb and say that this year’s EXPO was the best yet! With over 300 in attendance, students and leaders reconnected with their fellow CYT friends from across the nation and experienced what it truly means to be a part of one big CYT family.

CYT Expo

This year’s theme, “Through the Looking Glass”, really hit home when it was revealed that whether it’s through joy or tragedy, triumphs or defeat, happiness or sadness…when you look in the mirror, you can see everyone from your CYT family standing by you in the reflection. We are all in this together and there is no place we’d rather be than CYT!

My CYT Story Winners

My CYT Story Winners

There were so many incredible highlights from the weekend – guest artist Jon Lorenz, the closing night showcase with exceptional solos, harmonies, featured dancers, and the worlds greatest teenagers (can I get an “eye-five”), worship in the morning, HYPE breakouts, Improv rounds, workshops throughout the day, special evening events, late night rehearsals, and dance parties. It didn’t matter if you were in HYPE, Improv, or neither, we all came together for a common goal and it was such a huge success.

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Speaking of Improv…the Improvathon was AMAZING. Congrats to the Improvathon team “Stay Glassy San Diego” from CYT San Diego for taking home the trophy! 

Improv Finals!

Improv Finals!

Perhaps one of the most special times of all was when all the CYT leaders from around the country gathered together. One point that was made in the meeting by the CYT Spokane Artistic Director is that “we are all called”… it doesn’t matter who we are, or what job we perform, we are all called to be a part of this organization.  

The incomparable CYT leaders

The incomparable CYT leaders

Thank you to everyone that was a part of the jam-packed, fast-paced, memorable weekend…it was one none of us will soon forget.

P.S. Stay tuned for the our EXPO Through Instagram blog post. Hilarious.

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A glowing review for CCT’s Les Misérables

The below review on Christian Community Theater’s (CCT) Les Misérables was published in The East County Californian. If the article doesn’t give you happy chills, then the below promo video will.

You still have four chances to see the show: July 30 – 31 & Aug 1-2. Yesssss! Tickets available HERE.

Les Misérables engages and amazes audiences with stellar performance

Les Misérables cast dreamed a dream in a time gone by. Three hours time to be specific. And the time went by too fast.

From start to finish, the musical was engaging. This cast was faced with big shoes to fill, as this is a story line of large magnitude as well as literary significance. The shoe fit perfectly. Their paramount performance brought laughs, tears and sighs to a large, expectant crowd. 

Each member, both lead and supporting, exhibited an amazing dedication throughout the duration of the play. Never breaking face and continuing to act in the background were small acts of commitment that paid off big. 

It was as if every character cast could not have been played more significantly by any other. As an experienced performer, Matthew Posner played the lead role of Jean Valjean. The time progression throughout the musical and his ability to believably act according to each different year clearly showed his capabilities as a performer. Valjean’s character’s difficult but admirable journey was portrayed perfectly in the hands of this actor. The juxtaposition between him and Jon Thuerbach’s character Javert, who is set on finding the escaped Valjean and enforcing the law, is a relationship that’s intricate nature of crime and punishment is seamlessly developed and presented by the two.

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