TOPEKA, KS, March 11, 2020 – 8 theatre students representing the Valley Center High School Theatre Department traveled to the State Capital to talk with legislators about the importance of Theatre Education. The event was part of the annual Theatre Advocacy Day organized by the Kansas Thespians, the state chapter of the International Thespian Society housed by the Educational Theatre Association.
The goal of the day was to celebrate the essentialness of theatre in our schools and its impact on students, communities, and Kansas itself. Representative Jeff Pittman from Leavenworth sponsored a proclamation on the floor of the House and Senator Carolyn McGinn spoke on the floor of the Senate commemorating the occasion. Valley Center High School students were McGinn’s official guests and received special recognition for their contributions and advocacy. Governor Kelly signed a proclamation affirming the amazing level of achievement that Kansas High School theatre has attained at the state and national level.
“Being able to go to the capital with friends and be able to advocate for something that we, as a whole, are passionate about was a huge honor. It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to the next few years,” Freshman Natalee Delgado stated. Students met frequently to work on their “elevator speeches” and talking points in preparation for the day. Students were able to speak directly to legislators about what their support of theatre education means on the local and state level.
Theatre teacher Megan Upton-Tyner said the day was a success. “Students had a great experience that highlighted the importance of civic engagement. We know that theatre education is valuable and students were able to see how their experiences and their voices can have a direct effect on legislation. Young people are powerful and it was inspiring to see them realize that.”
Along with the Governor’s proclamation and meeting with legislatures, students performed “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hanson in the rotunda and held a press conference detailing the event.
Students Participating: Colten Brillhart, Senior; Gabrielle Charvat, Senior; Chelsea John, Senior; Alexis Driscoll, Junior; Natalee Delgado, Freshman; Isabelle House, Freshman; Owen White, Freshman