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Alumni Spotlight: Karah Sutton

Alumni Spotlight: Karah Sutton
Lafayette alumni Karah Sutton in gray and black posing outdoors

Karah Sutton is a 2006 graduate of the SCAPA program at Lafayette High School. A published author with Penguin Random House, she has had books recognized by the American Booksellers Association and nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award. Her latest is “The Song of the Swan,” a story for 8- to 12-year-olds based on the popular ballet “Swan Lake.”

Fun fact: Sutton lives in New Zealand.

Question: What is your fondest memory of your time at Lafayette?

Answer: I was in the band, where I made all my closest friends – people I still hang out with every time I visit Lexington. Lafayette Band was a great combination of social activity and learning activity and hobby. It taught me discipline that prepared me for the future.

Q: What person, class, or experience in high school influenced you the most?

A: English classes. I had a couple of wonderful English teachers – Mima Kearl and Jonel Curtis Sallee. It wasn’t just about the things we read. It was about the discussions and the thinking and the questioning of our beliefs, and our interpretations. There were so many wonderful conversations in those classes. Because I’m a writer now, having learned those English and writing skills really made a personal and a professional impact.

Karah Sutton in high school, in blue windbreaker

Q: Did you attend college or complete graduate studies? If so, where?

A: University of Kentucky, majoring in Arts Administration with an emphasis in Theatre and a minor in Vocal Performance

Q: How did your education at Lafayette help prepare you for college and for your professional journey?

A: When I was a student, I thought education was all about having done things rather than doing. I thought it was all about the books we read or the facts we memorized. What FCPS prepared me for was skills – learning how to research, how to write an essay, how to question things. Those skills have been useful for my entire life.

Q: What is a professional highlight of your career?

A: I’ve had a lot of wonderful opportunities. I’ve worked in book publishing but also in film and video games. Publishing my first book is probably the biggest moment.

Q: What advice would you give students interested in your career field?

A: What my career has taught me is the importance of persistence and practice. So many things require repetition and discipline and dedication to really build up an ability and skills. … Even if you’re naturally talented, you still have to practice and work at it. If you’re not naturally skilled, if you work hard at it, you can grow those skills.

Q: What is an important life lesson to share with current students and future graduates?

A: The importance of learning how to collaborate. Learning how to give and receive feedback is important creatively and professionally.

Q: Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself -- family, hobbies, interests, etc.?

A: I went to New Zealand (13 years ago) because I wanted to travel. Being open to new experiences is something I’ve always valued.