Casey Raiha (2004)
Drama student now introduces future stars
From Shakespeare to Starquest, actor Casey Raiha said the groundwork for his career in the performing arts started as a freshman at River Ridge High School.
“Some of my fondest memories came from participating in the school’s many plays and musicals,” said Raiha (Class of 2004), whose passion led him to join the River Ridge Theatre Department, Thespian Society and Choir. He credits his former drama teacher, Leslie VanLeishout for helping him launch what became his career. “She really gave me a solid foundation for being a working actor in the world.” He also thanked Cynthia Dinsmore, who “helped me find the joy in everything I do artistically;” and Hank Henry who “really helped me work through the tougher times of high school.”
Raiha’s favorite show at River Ridge was The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged], which he directed and performed in for his senior project, along with two of his friends. “We had an amazing cast and crew, the show sold really well, we were able to take the show to the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska, and most importantly, we had SO MUCH FUN onstage every single night!”
After high school, Raiha, who went on to attend Centralia College and the Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. Upon returning home to Washington, he kept focused on his dream and began acting locally – and his determination is finally paying off. “After selling cell phones for five years I now work in the Performing Arts full time, as an actor, singer, dancer, audiobook narrator, and voiceover artist for the Greater Seattle Area.”
His most recent gig is working as an emcee for Starquest International Performing Arts Competitions (www.starquestdance.com) including a stop in Renton March 20-22. “I'll be touring the country the next few months, meeting thousands of singers, dancers, and choreographers, watching them do what they love and awarding their hard work.” When he’s not touring or acting, Raiha enjoys catching up on his "stories" (usually HBO), reading, exercising or singing karaoke.
Looking back on his time in NTPS, Raiha says he appreciated the multiple opportunities the school district offered him to learn and grow, along with the great diversity of friends, teachers and fellow students. “If I could give advice to other students still in high school I would tell them to find that one thing you would really love to do for a living, and start working on it NOW. Learn something new about it every day, and let your education be your springboard to make it a reality.” And for those students who might be having a tough time getting through high school? “Be strong and stay focused. Things can only go up from where you are now!”