Lia and Mary: A Growing Friendship
It happened while dancing to “Call Me Maybe”. A friendship. A friendship that grew out of a love for dancing, singing, and performing with people of all abilities. Lia, a sophomore, and Mary, a freshman, were randomly placed in the same scene group at Conard & Hall High Schools’ Unified Theater program. Throughout each rehearsal they got closer and closer, sharing jokes and dance steps. Mary remembers sitting next to Lia during the slideshow after their final performance and being so happy and proud of Lia when she was chosen to be a Choreographer for the following year’s program. That was just the beginning of this amazing friendship—complete with a special high-five done every day in the school hallway as Lia and Mary each headed to class, and still done whenever they see each other.
A mutual love for dancing, singing, and performing brought them both to Unified Theater. Mary’s aunt has helped with the program since it’s early years when it was first started at Conard High School. Leah had participated in Unified Sports playing soccer and basketball, but her real passion was dancing and singing. So, these two talented and energetic girls came together and developed a friendship in the welcoming and encouraging community of Unified Theater. That’s the best part about the program, says Mary. “It pulls everyone together,” she said when we all met up for coffee, “even kids who don’t have any theater background or who prefer to play sports. You’re meeting new people and just having fun.” It’s not hard to see that these two are the best of friends. Even during our short meeting they were giggling, sharing photos, and talking about the next time they were going to get together.
Yes, Unified Theater definitely is a special place—it’s like a family. Lia enjoys being with her friends and teaching them how to dance, even having the opportunity to be in the program with her real family-- younger brother, Jordan, participated throughout high school too. “It was so cool that my best friend, Claire, was in scenes with my brother, Jordan, every year,” she said excitedly. And as Mary describes it, “Unified Theater is special because you build relationships and friendships; you build memories.”
Mary and Lia have a lot of memories together, both within Unified Theater and from their many hang out sessions outside of rehearsal. They both had the opportunity to be student leaders of the group for two years together, growing their leadership skills and their friendship. And even now, though both have since graduated from Conard High School, they continue their weekend lunch dates, getting together to see the latest comedy at the movie theater, or laughing over the pictures they have together on Instagram. Their memories made together, and with other friends of all abilities and interests, will last forever. Unified Theater may have brought them together, but their strong friendship will keep them together for years to come. Because as Lia and Mary say—“this Unified Theater family means everything.”