Acting on ambitions

TISD senior’s action leads to mayor naming March theater in schools month 

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Photo by Peyton Sims

Senior Lia Graham addresses the members of last night’s city hall meeting after the mayor read her proclamation. Graham lobbied for March to be Theatre in our Schools Month in Texarkana, Texas.

Story by Peyton Sims, editor in chief

Years of passion and dedication could no longer be silenced. Senior Lia Graham made her voice heard on March 8, 2021, during a meeting held at the City Hall of Texarkana, Texas. Graham reached out to Mayor Bob Bruggeman to propose her idea of March being named as Theatre in our Schools Month (TIOSM). 

“Jennifer Evans responded on behalf of the mayor, and said that he would like to present a proclamation to me at the city council meeting in support of Theatre in our Schools Month for Texarkana, Texas,” Graham said. “I went to the city council meeting, and he read the proclamation to me which was an edited form of an essay I sent to him. Then, I got to take a picture with the mayor and Mrs. Dupree.”

Head Principal Carla Dupree and Mayor Bob Bruggeman pose with senior Lia Graham. Dupree attended the city hall meeting in support of Graham’s accomplishment. (Photo by Peyton Sims)

With Graham being a part of the 2020 Texas State Thespian Officer Board, they worked tirelessly to get at least 10 cities to declare TIOSM as an official month. Thanks to the board’s commitment, their goal was exceeded with 30 cities already declaring TIOSM. 

“It’s really scary at first whenever you’re like, ‘Oh, I have to email people in the government,’” Graham said. “When you do it, they respond to you in a very kind manner, and they listen to you, which is something I didn’t expect to happen.”

Graham’s activism in her city is only sparking the beginning of her career. After college, while she doesn’t plan to major in theater, she still plans to incorporate it in her life. 

“I am writing an article where I interviewed people from other school districts in Texarkana about how theater has impacted them. I’m hoping to get this article out to the public so that they can read it and learn about TIOSM, and how it has impacted students around Texarkana,” Graham said. “Also, I hope to advocate [for TIOSM] through TISD. I don’t plan to go into acting or that aspect of it, but I can see myself going into directing and teaching theater and definitely acting within a community theater level.”