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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Students Find Community, Acceptance in Theater Events

Ms.+Sara+Corley+hands+scripts+to+students+during+Mamma+Mia%21+auditions+Oct.+16.
Photo by Caroline Schlieker
Ms. Sara Corley hands scripts to students during Mamma Mia! auditions Oct. 16.

If sophomore Cayden Newkirk hadn’t joined the theater department, his community wouldn’t be the same. Newkirk got his first roles in Legacy productions during his freshman year but was cast in a lead role in his sophomore year. For the fall play, Newkirk played Christopher in “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time”. The play followed a teenage author with autism investigating the mysterious death of a dog and the mystery of his own mother. 

“It was very nerve-wracking at first because it was my first time being the lead,” Newkirk said. “I wanted to show the audience how autism can affect a family, and affect how someone can live.”

Because of theater, Newkirk built a strong social network of friends and mentors that helped him succeed in the role. His community included freshmen, seniors and even students that he still kept in touch with after they graduated. 

“It’s made me a lot happier to be in school, I feel like I belong in theater,” Newkirk said. “It’s really helped me throughout life itself and the school year.”

Senior Kayla Parker also valued the strong relationships built in the theater environment after working with the department for three years. Parker designed costumes for the January production of “Mamma Mia”, a jukebox musical rom-com scored entirely by ABBA songs. 

“I feel like I’m really building a family and people that I trust, [and] love a lot,” Parker said. “Especially with ‘Mamma Mia’, we were all very, very close.”

Not only did theater give Parker connections to a supportive community of people, it opened doors for her future as a fashion designer and seamstress. After she began creating her own fashion in eighth grade, Parker planned on pursuing a degree in Design and Technology and find a job costuming professionally. 

I think theater is the only way for people who are interested in fashion to make their vision come to life because, in high school, we don’t really have a fashion class. There was one, but they didn’t have a full-on fashion show, they didn’t make full-on garments.

— Kayla Parker, 12

“I think theater is the only way for people who are interested in fashion to make their vision come to life because, in high school, we don’t really have a fashion class,” Parker said. “There was one, but they didn’t have a full-on fashion show, they didn’t make full-on garments.”

Theater taught both students a wide amount of skills that affect their social lives and futures. Newkirk remarked on the personal growth he experienced because of his theater family. 

If I wasn’t into theater, I probably wouldn’t be as social and I probably wouldn’t have as many friends,” Newkirk said. “I don’t think I’d just be the person I’d want to be. Because I just want to feel like myself.”

About the Contributors
Juno Clark
Juno Clark, Staff Writer
My name is Juno! There's a pretty good chance I'm thinking about my cat right now.
Caroline Schlieker
Caroline Schlieker, Photo Editor in Chief
Hey, I am Caroline Schlieker, EIC of the photojournalism publication for our online newspaper and yearbook. I love animals, listening to Koe Wetzel, and waffles.
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