It’s Time To Pass The Shoe

Inductions have influenced incoming thespians as well as exiting thespians

The+night+of+inductions%2C+Gehrke+recalls+how+many+seniors+became+inducted.+She+recalls+how+many+students+find+themselves+loving+theater+within+their+last+year+of+high+school.
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It’s Time To Pass The Shoe

The night of inductions, Gehrke recalls how many seniors became inducted. She recalls how many students find themselves loving theater within their last year of high school.

The night of inductions, Gehrke recalls how many seniors became inducted. She recalls how many students find themselves loving theater within their last year of high school.

Cole Allen

The night of inductions, Gehrke recalls how many seniors became inducted. She recalls how many students find themselves loving theater within their last year of high school.

Cole Allen

Cole Allen

The night of inductions, Gehrke recalls how many seniors became inducted. She recalls how many students find themselves loving theater within their last year of high school.

Alyssa Bailey, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

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It’s been such a long journey for senior thespians, and it’s about to be an greater one for underclassmen thespians. With the school year coming to a bittersweet end, seniors are passing the torch down to their fellow underclassmen. In this case, senior thespians are passing down their shoe, a Liberty tradition, to inducted thespians that can fill their shoes when they leave for college. It’s been both emotional and honoring for all thespians.

Emotions were even higher on Friday, April 26 when everyone came out to watch as their fellow thespians got inducted.

Ms. Gehrke, head of the thespians, has had the privilege to watch and enjoy seeing the seniors grow as students and as people. The night of thespians inductions, she recalls how many seniors, that weren’t previously, became inducted and how many students find themselves loving theater within their last year of high school.

“Most of the seniors who got inducted this year are people who didn’t discover their love for theater until later in their high school career,” Gehrke said. “I know of three seniors who got inducted this year that hadn’t done theater until this year, but they loved it.”

Freshmen Avery Schlattman, Amanda Yoder, and Jackson Martin, sophomores Anna Decker, Evan Mantz, Zach Pinkham, Alliesa Riles and Mykenzie Waller, juniors Alison Flitter, Emily Gann, Dylan Lindke and seniors Cat Frank, Hope Harbour, Marissa Pukala-Whitaker, José Vazquez and Ryan Lammert were all inducted and had the opportunity to experience a night they would never forget.

Freshman Avery Schlattman has worked countless hours to become inducted and with becoming inducted and getting a shoe during her first year of high school, she feels honored.

“I did theater in middle school and [it was my goal was to get inducted], it was something I knew I really wanted to do,” Schlattman said. “I was surprised I ended up getting a shoe. It was a surprise to me and they tried keeping it a secret so it was a really sweet gesture. It’s a tradition that each senior has one and they pass it down to an underclassmen, at the end of the year, that they think can fill their shoes.”

The shoes are spray painted silver and it’s a part of Liberty’s history that a senior passes it down to the future leaders of the thespians.

“Yeah, every senior has a shoe that they either received from former seniors or if you don’t already have a shoe, Ms. Gehrke provides one for you. I gave my shoe to Brooke Huffman because I’ve seen her grow a lot in the short time I’ve known her,” senior Cameron Jones said.

In order to become an inducted member, Ms. Gehrke keeps a point system that requires thespians to acquire ten points that accumulate every year. One point is equivalent to working ten hours for the troupe. If a thespian has helped volunteer at an event, walk in the theater parade, worked on a show, whether that’s on stage or backstage, those points count.

“The points accumulate after school so I got points from working on Footloose, Radium Girls, and volunteering for different events,” Schlattman said. “You have to have a certain amount of points, which means you have to have over one hundred hours and it’s a lot of work.”

It was a surprise to me and they tried keeping it a secret so it was a really sweet gesture. It’s a tradition that each senior has one and they pass it down to an underclassmen, at the end of the year, that they think can fill their shoes.”

— Avery Schlattman

The induction ceremony is set up by the National Thespians society and during the ceremony, thespians are allowed to showcase their talents, which ranged from students playing the piano, singing, or performing monologues.

“If there’s a scene that students have never been able to perform before, or there’s a song or dance they want to do, there’s a forty five minute showcase. Then we break for cake, of course. As for the induction, we go through what it means to be a thespian, as well as the history of the thespians,” Ms. Gehrke said.

After that, each inductee is brought to the stage, handed a certificate and says an oath to their commitment. They also did a senior section, which specifically honored senior thespians. Everyone shared memories and what the future might look like for them.

“I’ve been involved in theater all four years and it’s been a whacky ride. But all in all, the community of people is growing at Liberty and traditions are being established and it makes my senior heart happy,” Jones said. “What I’m going to miss most is the environment that theater provides. You don’t have to stick to ‘social norms’, you can shout, sing, dance and say ‘I love you’ without care. It’s really freeing, honestly.”

Jones was inducted this year in January and he knew that it would be a major part of his high school career since he wanted to become more involved in the community. When he goes to college, he plans on getting involved in theater with local groups but wants to keep his focus on branching out into different groups, as well.

Inducted members do receive some benefits, like discounts and open activities at state conferences, but their dedication, commitment and involvement is what it’s really all about. Their endless devotion has built over time just by the experiences they have had with everyone, which is what the seniors hope for the underclassmen.

Some honorable mentions that the seniors are going to miss include going to Steak N’ Shake after their Friday night shows, as well as cast parties. Shouting iconic lines from each of their shows on opening nights will be missed too. But most importantly, all the people who have made the thespians what they are today and the people that will continue on those traditions will be missed. Seniors are gradually moving out of the way so that underclassmen can make way for their own traditions. It’s a loving environment filled with all people that have created bonds to last the end of time.

As Ms. Gehrke has said, “Theater is the weirdest, greatest place in the school.”

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