Cobblers Up Close: ACES

Hidden in the drama department is a club within the club: ACES, a closely knit quartet of select membership. Who are these diminutive and talented theatre technicians?

By Brooklyn DeVries and Matt Vidal

You see them in the halls… or do you? They’re behind the stage in theatre productions, they’re best friends, and, though little, they’ve got big hearts. Standing no taller than 5’5, these four guys come together to create the law firm: ACES. In the Theatre Department, they’re an unstoppable technical force. Since they are all the same height, they do many of the same jobs together. “There’s no problem too big, or too small,” says Ayden, Caden, Eli, and Speck.  Even with their small stature, they hold true to the saying.

So what is ACES? “It was more of Mr. Speck’s idea,” Ayden Whitney says. “We figured that it should include all four of us since we are around the same height. With that being said, the height requirement to be in the group is 5’5 or under.” Mr. Speck remembers how the law firm came to be. “We were running tech for Pippin and we were on stage before marathon. I realized that I was surrounded by three other guys whose eyes I could see! Without even knowing it, the first letter of our first names spelled out ACES.”

At the start of the ACES we have Ayden Whitney. Who is Ayden? This kid roots for the Broncos, plays in the band, works tech for theatre, and is a co founder of the group. “I joined the group to make myself feel better about my height; we overcome being small together.” Ayden is a junior and says that he wants to be a technical director and or light technician when he grows up. We asked Ayden who his “tall friend” is, and he said Mr. Lore, who is his biggest role model.

An Interview Moment

So Ayden…
*MATTHEW leans in close with his notebook and pen in hand*
We have a really big question to ask you.
*The air in the room is swallowed while MATTHEW locks eyes with AYDEN*
What is your favorite color?
I believe it would be orange.
*AYDEN gazes into space from his Broncos jersey*

Caden Lefler is the C in ACES. Caden is a sophomore at CHS and is also involved in theatre’s crew. He is funny, handy, and you’ll want a mini-Caden to put in your pocket! “How do I overcome being small?” he says. “Well, I just live with it.” Caden wants to go to the School of Mines and major in civil engineering. In his spare time he likes to hang out with his family and work on his race car. “You know, the perks of being small are 1) you can fit in small places, and 2) clothes fit really well.” Caden shared with us that the firm even wears their shirt  underneath their dress clothes! The shirt is a black and white shirt with four pillars on the front that represent each member of ACES. On the back is says, “No job is too big or too small,” which is their motto. Talk about tight knit. He said that he looked up to his Grandpa, who was his best friend and a “really rad dude, he was just here to party.”

An Interview Moment

Now Caden, this question is tough. Who is your tall friend? Why?
Emily Faust. *no hesitation* She’s just really cool and fun to work with. We work well together on crew.

The partners in the ACES law firm: Speck, Eli, Caden, and Ayden

The E in ACES stands for Eli Oyler. “I do drama,” Eli says as he chuckles to himself a bit. “Oh, and I throw knives.” Standing at 5’4, this guy shouldn’t be overlooked. He has a huge heart, a great sense of humor, and is incredibly smart. Eli is a sophomore at Central and he already knows what he wants to do: he wants to go to college and be an aerospace engineer. So soon enough you’ll be looking for him at NASA. “Being small is only a physical trait, the traits that matter are intellectual and personal.” Eli says that he looks up to the Canadian Prime Minister and his “tall friend” is his older brother, Ross Oyler. “The tactic I use to get through the halls is the weaving tactic.”

An Interview Moment

So Eli, we also have a really big question for you. Who is your favorite fictional antagonist?
*ELI pauses and turns to AYDEN*
That’s the bad guy… right?
*The room erupts with laughter*
The Gorn from Star Trek.

The last letter in the acronym is S, and Mr. Speck is the holder of that letter. Mr. Justin Speck is the co chair of the fine arts department (alongside Mr. Knowles), teaches Drama 1, 2, 3, and 4, and runs the theatre department’s plays with Mr. Lore. “I’ve always known I was going to be small. When you grow up with that it is so common place. I try to be the best person I can be and my actions speak louder than my height.” Mr. Speck went to the U of M and double majored in theatre and English with a minor in musical theatre. In the little spare time that he has he loves to cook, hike, rock climb, compose music, and nap. “Yes, naps are becoming more frequent and more important.”

If you have the wonderful opportunity to talk to one of these amazing humans, do. “Big things come in small packages,” Mr. Speck says, “and everyone always needs a little buddy.”