The summer before my freshman year was filled with endless possibilities. I was going to high school, I had my schedule and everything was going well until an email was sent out. Central High School had a new elective. Central High School now had a theatre class. My world was blown. I immediately emailed my guidance counselor and begged to be put into the first theatre class. It happened and the rest was history.
When I started theatre class, I didn't really have much of an idea of what I was getting myself into. For the past ten years before high school, I danced and until freshman year, dancing was no longer my passion. The fire had fizzled out and transferred to a different art. Theatre. Freshman year, Central High School was where my love for theatre began. From the different students to the exposure to new forms of art. I knew I had found my home. Quickly, I grew a bond with my high school theatre teacher and she became a second mother to me and to many others.
We turned a class into a family, a dysfunctional one but a family no doubt. Theatre was where I was exposed to ideas of feminism and learning how to be an ally and learning how to be a good person. Without theatre, I would not be who am I am today. In theatre, I quickly learned that everything was a collaborative effort no matter what. We were building our theatre department back from the ground up, we used old sets and pulled them apart and built a new set. Our auditorium wasn't updated to meet the standards to have a show so we would do our shows with the audience seated on stage with us.
It was wild. Some days, I was at school from seven a.m. to ten p.m. but I would do all over again no matter what. Theatre taught me about the importance of sacrifice and family and inclusion, long before I realized it. Being involved in theatre, helped me develop discipline not only as an actor but as a student and a person. I would go home and study and do all my homework and then spend the rest of my night with my script. Just my script and a highlighter and I loved it. No matter how hard tech week was or how difficult it was when I was trying to learn a full musical despite my adamance that I couldn't sing, it was all worth it.
The theatre was where I not only learned how to build a set with little or no money but also how to be a better human being. How to listen and step back and realize I was wrong and how to challenge others in a respectful way. Theatre made me appreciate being human and every day I carry a bit of Central High School's Theatre Department and the "little warriors that could" wherever I go. I know some were not fortunate to have a theatre department in their high school or have teachers and staff who cared about the arts but I did. I'm glad they cared and I'm glad I was there for the beginning.
When I went back to visit before the start of my second year in college, I went back to the auditorium. The one that had old wiring and we didn't have a legit dressing room and everything was just old. I went back and it was completely renovated. Seeing the students rehearsing in that space, made my heart full. They no longer had to worry about wiring issues or fighting over who can use the mic etc. The department was now being funded and supported and I was there to help. Theatre helped me and in return, I'm helping the world. One over dramatic monologue at a time.