Thespians receive gold troupe ranking at state

Kaitlin Clark, Print Editor-in-Chief

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While most students returned to class after winter break, Thespian Troupe 941 was busy performing and learning new skills at the Thespian State Conference in Wichita, where they once again received a gold troupe ranking.

The gold troupe ranking is the highest a troupe can receive, and this year marks Manhattan High’s eighth year consecutively placing so highly. A troupe ranking is determined by their historian book presentation, which requires putting together a scrapbook showcasing the troupe’s yearly activities and presenting it in front of a panel of judges. This year’s historian book was largely put together by senior Henry Schinstock, who was proud of the troupe’s accomplishment.

“It definitely was like a very time consuming project and I worked kind of hard on it,” Schinstock said. “So I’m pretty proud of the gold that we won.”

In addition to the historian book event, each troupe presents a variety of shows and participates in several contest categories including everything from Individual Events to the yearly Tech Olympics. This year, Troupe 941 performed two one-act plays, “Junie B. Jones is Not A Crook” and “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse,” both of which were ranked highly, with the former receiving all superior rankings and the latter getting one superior and two excellents. Performances like these helped troupe members feel more involved in the conference and heighten their experiences.

“It was really cool to be involved and see so many people that were passionate about the same things that I was passionate about,” senior Tess Garvin said.

Individual Events were also a large part of student’s experiences. When performing an IE, a student had to present a prepared piece to judges, which, while often nerve-wracking in the moment, produced positive results for some.

“I knew that I had done a good job and I feel like I will be even better next year,” junior Nathan Paukstelis said about his IE, for which he received one superior and two excellents.

For returning thespians, especially those who are seniors, this year’s conference was a time of greater involvement.

“I felt more involved this year than I did my previous years,” Schinstock said. “My previous years I was kind of just there, took a couple classes and like saw a couple shows but like this year I actually competed, and…partook in quite a few more things.”

Classes like those Schinstock discussed gave thespians the chance to strengthen their skills.

“It’s a great experience and you learn so much,” Garvin said.

After returning from the conference, thespians were eager to talk about their experiences and urged future thespians to attend. Like always, they encourage others to join the group and carry on the rich traditions of involvement and success that Thespian Troupe 941 have.

“If you’re considering going to it, please go,” Paukstelis said. “It was a very fun time and to anyone competing in the future, practice makes perfect.”

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