South Dade High School in Homestead is rapidly building a reputation for winning state championships. The football team just did it, and now the school’s theatre students have followed that up in dramatic fashion by winning the state championship in theatrical performance.
Yes, they have such a competition, and the kids from South Dade have been judged best in show business, selected to represent Florida at the national competition in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"It’s a beautiful thing," said student actor Nicole Garcia.
Garcia’s colleague and star of the show, Marco Guerra, puts the honor in perspective.
"This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to us, to our troupe,” Guerra said.
Another student said winning the state title was "amazing." What’s really amazing is the kids didn’t perform Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams or Oscar Wilde. The winning play is an original, "Amygdala," by a previously unknown playwright named Juan Espinosa, who just happens to be the theatre teacher at South Dade High.
"Amazing to see something I wrote get this far, it’s just incredible,” Espinosa said, explaining that his students fleshed out his play, making it come to life on the stage.
It’s a compelling drama, but the drama off stage may prevent the kids from staging their play at the national competition. They have plenty of talent, but a shortage of money. The school is trying to raise $30,000 to raise the curtain in Lincoln.
"These kids deserve it, they're the best of the best, they deserve this opportunity, some of them have never even gotten on a plane," Espinosa said. "This is an opportunity to experience new things, a whole other world they’re not used to.”
They’re asking, pleading, begging for help from the public. You can donate by going to www.gofundme.com, search South Dade High Theatre.
The students are already winners, but what a shame it would be if "Amygdala's" run ends before it gets to the biggest stage.