Students Champion a Challenging Cause


RENTHSI found this article after attending the California Thespian Festival and immediately thought about all the high powered seniors in our theatre classes. Please know that I didn’t write the article; it’s written by Casey McDermott at the Student Press Law Advocate. And it starts like this…

When Larissa Mark and her peers found out last August that their high school would be performing “Rent: School Edition” — an adaptation of the popular show by Jonathan Larson, which addresses issues related to sexuality, drug use and HIV/AIDS — as its spring musical, they were ecstatic. A few months later, though, Principal Mark Guarino informed students that the show would be put on hold because of concerns about its content. You can find the rest of the article here

So the folks at Student Press Law Center interviewed the students involved with this experience. Please read the entire article about how a group of theatre kids campaigned with parents, fellow students, and community members, to encourage a principal to change his mind about doing an edgy show.

Below, find another fantastic excerpt from the article.

Your involvement in theater and the thespian program, do you feel like it’s helped you to find a voice?

LM: Being in theater is the first time where I’ve really had to take on responsibility — not only for myself, but something larger than me. And that goes a lot into civic virtue and being an active citizen. While I might be active in this community here, eventually I’m going to want to be active in a larger one, as well. While our change might just be producing an art that can create social commentary and create a message for an audience, I think that is an idea of expression in general and of our First Amendment rights: We’re given the ability to produce material that can create change and be a part of our society. And the thespian society, without them, I never would be able to speak in public as well as I can. I never would have made the step to growing up so fast.   –Larissa Mark

So Tell Us

Ahhh. Using our theatre powers for good.

What made senior high school student, Larissa Mark, successful in her campaign to reinstate “Rent: School Edition” at her school?

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

33 replies

  1. Larissa Marks did not allow the disapproval of her principal to stop her. She succeeded through receiving national attention and campaigning with fellow students and parents.

  2. What made Clarissa Marks so successful was that she was determined. And she knew she could do it and never took no for an answer. And of course her theater skills helped her accomplish her goals

  3. Larissa Mark suceeded because of her passion and determination, she set her eyes on the prize and got things done.

  4. I admire Larissa Mark because she didn’t let anyone stop her! She took advantage of social media and made a scene to get some attention on a great cause. Plus I love the musical Rent!

  5. I’ll just start this sentence with Larissa Mark since everyone else did #bandwagon. Larissa Mark showed that can she be dedicated to her work and never gave up. Larissa and her students pushed themselves to prove to there principle that it was a play that was meant to be shown to the public.

  6. Larissa Mark succeeded because she was very determined. She used all her resources that she can use. As long as you believe in something a lot you can achieve it.

  7. Larissa was successful in reinstating “Rent” because she stood up for what she believed in. I’ve seen the movie and I feel the same way as Larissa; it’s purpose is to educate people on these social issues. As a theatre student, Larissa knows through the production of this play she will be doing just that.

  8. I give props to Larissa Marks. She stood her ground and did whatever she could to get what she started going. Not only did she not take no for an answer, she thought about everything and even using social media to help her get this play through and proved her principal wrong.

  9. Larrisa was able able to succeed because she was very determined. She knew she had to educate the school with this play and didn’t back down. She used the skills she acquired from theatre to help accomplish this goal.

  10. Larissa succeeded in her campaign because she did not take no for an answer. She didn’t give up because she knew that there was an important message in the play that needed to be performed in front of an audience.

  11. Larissa Mark succeeded because she didn’t settle for less. She went after what she wanted and that is what makes an awesome leader. Her theatre skills helped her with that. She even mentions how, if it weren’t for theatre she wouldn’t be saying or doing any of this. Theatre has taught me how to work with others.

  12. Larrisa Mark was successful because she went after what she wanted and was able to get many people on the commitee on her side. She proved thst you can do what you want to as long as you are willing to go through anything to reach your goal.

  13. What made Larissa Mark succssesful in her campaign to reinstate “rent:school edition” is that she used skills she gathered in the thespian club. As well as having determination no matter what anyone else said.

  14. Larissa Mark was successful because she took things seriously and in a mature manner and was persistent. She had her mind set and used most of her resources to help her get where she wanted.

  15. As a fellow presenter, I always tell my audience that with passion, perseverance, patients, and determination, everything is possible. Nelson Mandel once said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done”. Larissa Mark is the type of student that inspires me to fight back when injustices are being made, especially from administration. Her acts and the enormous support from other, made this happen, and will serve as a lesson to those that put you down.

  16. Larissa Mark was successful in her campaign because she was dedicated to making sure they would let them. Also she not only used her voice, she used many other people and got them involved to make her campaign so mush stronger.

  17. I think Larissa Mark was successful because she did not only make a great statement, but she had facts and other people to back her up.

  18. What made Larrisa Mark successful was the power of social media. Also that she believed in herself and didn’t give up no matter what they said.

  19. Larissa Mark succeeded because she was determined to reach her ultimate goal and wasn’t going to take a simple “no you can’t” for an answer. As a result, she was willing to utilize all of the resources that were available to her; in this case social media was her method to spread her voice and gain attention.

  20. My involvement in theatre has helped me become more confident and helped me have a louder voice. Sports, Leadership, Theatre have helped me with both traits and I’m thankful for it.

  21. What made Larissa successful was the fact that she had an idea and didn’t give up on it. She kept going all the way and didn’t give up when her principal told her they couldn’t perform the play.

  22. Larissa succeeded because she didn’t take no for an answer and used social media as a means to communicate with others about what she believed was the correct thing to do.

  23. Unfortunately my involvement in theater has not help me find or develop a voice. On the other hand though, being in theatre class has helped me be more confident to speak in public.

  24. My involvement in theater has not help me find or develop a voice because I think I just don’t have one. I guess I’m not that lucky.

  25. Larissa was successful because she pointed out the fact that it is an idea of expression in general and of the First Amendment right, in which everyone is given the ability to produce material that can create a change in the society.

  26. Larissa Mark and a group of students circulated an online survey and a petition to gauge how Trumbull community felt about students performing the show. They also used social media which spread the word about their efforts. Larissa Mark and these students stood up for what they believed was right and took action.

  27. Larissa Mark did not just sit on the sidelines after the administration told her that the thespians could not perform the play. She utilized socia media to spread the word about their mission to be able to perform. Their campaign gained national attention. The students and parents were all essential in the approval of the play.

%d bloggers like this: