Lydia James essay

Many people look back on their high school years in longing, desperate for the way things were. I graduated in May 2017, so it hasn’t been that long for me. I may not wish to relive my high school years quite yet, but I do miss my high school drama club. During my four years in high school I was able to act in four plays, including Our Town and The Crucible, help backstage with two, and most importantly partake in three raffle auctions to benefit the community and our dying club in a school that was literally falling apart. If not for those raffle auctions, the Warren High School Drama Department may have ceased to exist before I walked across the graduation stage. I owe finding my niche to those raffle auctions. Not only were they successful every year, they allowed me to stay in the group where I made so many friends and memories.

My first raffle was in Autumn 2013 during my first year of drama. I had only joined the group because of the performance the previous year, where they performed The Diary of Anne Frank for all the elementary and middle school students free of charge. It was the first play I had ever seen, and I was absolutely enthralled; it was so serious and the actors performed so well I almost forgot they were students and not the characters. So, when I was put in charge of the annual raffle as a freshman, I was intimidated. The raffle was always held during the autumn murder mystery performance, a light-hearted show which differs greatly from the dramatic plays in the spring. The show’s success and the survival of the club depended on the raffle having enough items for guests to bid on, and it was all upon my shoulders. I was very quiet my freshman year (I was soon brought out of my shell by drama class) but going from business to business to request tax-deductible donations for the auction was a concept that gave me anxiety. Looking back, if I wouldn’t have done what needed to be done and frequented every establishment on the list, I might still have been afraid of being noticed today.

My senior year of high school was wrought with difficulty on many fronts. The school building was built in 1960, and despite small renovations being made, it was determined to fall apart. The worst disaster all year occurred when a hole in the wall began leaking water. It turned out there was an old drain pipe that had been boarded up behind the wall, and when the custodians unscrewed a plate from the wall, the water began to rush out, flooding the hallway and every classroom near it, including mine. Our lesson was interrupted as my classmates went outside to try to help clean up the flooding water. They emptied out trash bins and scooped up the water as the custodian stuck a wooden plank in the hole and tried to vacuum up the water. I remember stepping through the scene to get to drama practice, our class agenda completely forgotten in lieu of the crisis. From a school swimming in water was our club, desperate for this year’s raffle money to stay afloat.

After becoming the older member of drama myself, I remembered that first glimpse into the magic of theatre, and I realized something. If the drama department had not performed The Diary of Anne Frank for my class with funds received from the raffle, I would never have joined the group or continued the fundraising legacy so future drama members could find themselves just as I did. My senior year raffle ended up being a success; even though we had fewer donation items from businesses, the woodshop teacher convinced his students to submit their projects as donation items. It is exactly that comradery and community spirit that has kept the drama club, and my high school, from sinking. I will always be grateful that I was able to take part in drama and take part in the raffle that changed my path forever.

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