Lufkin high school theater program teaches students empathy, responsibility

Lufkin high school theater program teaches students empathy, responsibility

While many Texas art departments are experiencing a budget cut, Lufkin High School is making it a point to keep these opportunities open for their students.

Lufkin high school senior, Rebecca Hill, is a main character for the up and coming play Oklahoma. She says that theater is her safe haven and the best way to express herself.

"A lot of other creative things like art and stuff didn't work for me, so it's another a way that I could express myself and that kind of thing is through singing, acting, and art shows," Hill said.

But sadly, some schools are feeling that impact more than others. In 2011, state lawmakers cut more than $5 billion dollars towards the state's public education budget, likely leaving some students like Rebecca with no chance to express themselves.  Even though the theater arts program at Lufkin High School hasn't had problems with budget cuts, they do put themselves in the shoes of those less fortunate.

"The great thing is that even if we did have budget cuts, the point of all this is the kids, and that's not going to change the talent that they have," said David Young, Lufkin High School's theater arts teacher. "The things that they do that's not going to be affected by the budget."

It took until last year for some schools' funding to reach the level before cuts, but others are still suffering. Young said that fine art programs are one of the most important things to offer to students.

"It teaches us about empathy, about getting to know other people, understanding other people ,and it helps us to relate to one another even though we come from different backgrounds different cultures and that's really important," Young said.

Some theater students said Monday theater has taught them responsibility and this is why other Texas schools are hoping to receive more funding to help with the program.

If you'd like to help your local school district's theater art program the students at Lufkin High school will be performing "Oklahoma: The Great American Musical" from October 12  to 14 at 7 p.m. All tickets are $5.

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