Inspired to Lead

Friday, February 12, 2021

Josh sitting and smiling
Rewarding experiences, everlasting friendships, skill-developing opportunities, and even a chance at love—“after everything the Grebel community has given me, giving back in the way of leadership just makes sense,” said Grebel resident, Josh Rampersad. In his four years at the College, Josh has used his skills and knowledge to better the community in a variety of leadership positions, especially as a musical director.  

As a Computer Science major, Josh is a very busy student, constantly taking on challenging proofs and programming. All this work can take a toll on one’s mind, which is why Josh finds that having the chance to take a break and get involved in extracurriculars is invaluable. “The Grebel community always has something going on, so it’s nice to take a study break and participate in life at the College,” Josh said. He has participated in clubs and events like the toga run and snack-time karaoke. He has also held leadership-oriented roles as a don and QuAQ representative on the Larger Leadership Team. His biggest roles relate to Grebel’s student-run musicals, where he co-directed Beauty and the Beast in 2019, and is the sole director of Big Fish this year.

When Josh first came to the University of Waterloo, he was at a point in his life where he was missing the element of community—a feeling shared by many first year students. He had to make the difficult adjustment into a new environment full of people he did not know. “Grebel quickly filled that hole in my life,” Josh said. The musical was especially satisfying to him. The act of working closely as a community, getting the chance to direct “such amazing people,” really helped Josh feel at home. “Watching everyone come together and show off what we worked so hard on fills me with such an intense feeling of pride that the hours toiling away become totally worth it.”

Josh posing
Josh’s experiences balancing his heavy work-load with the musical have helped him grow his leadership, time management, and interpersonal skills. “I’ve even become more open-minded from interacting with so many people with such diverse perspectives on the world. It’s really humbling, and I will be approaching all of my future endeavours differently because of it.” His best experience at Grebel was the opportunity to fall in love. “I guess when you’re living and working in close community, a couple love stories are bound to occur,” Josh smiled.

Due to the pandemic, the production of Grebel’s 2021 student-run musical, Big Fish, has proven a challenge for Josh and the rest of the musical team. Everything is done remotely and is carefully coordinated. Rehearsals have become recording sessions, and a new team was created to edit all the recordings together. While these changes make the musical more difficult to produce, one upside is that it has allowed many members of the community who are not living in the Grebel building to participate over long-distance. “One thing that has not changed is our goal to transport the audience to a world of song and dance,” said Josh. “This show will be just as fun to watch as any that came before it!”

If you want to see a Grebel musical like no other, this is definitely your chance to do so. So many members of the community have come together to put together a show that will exceed what many would think possible during a pandemic. You’ll get to see the familiar faces of the Grebelites you know and love on screen while also appreciating all of the handiwork of the production team in the form of editing, costumes, and props.

Written by Jace Jaeden Ellis