Go Public Cool Schools Winner: December 2018

Congratulations to the Judson High School Theater Arts department!

By Kiersten Ehr - Digital Content Creator, Jennifer Struski - Producer/Multi-Media Journalist

Congratulations to the Judson Theater Arts department for being voted as the Go Public Cool Schools feature for December!

The chanting of fired up theater arts students is what you'll hear inside the Judson High School auditorium and for a good reason.

The theater arts team calls themselves "family."

"They are very, very dedicated," said Larry Bailey, lead theater instructor at Judson High School. "They spend hours and hours here. I couldn't ask for a better bunch."

One student who's continuing to inspire even after graduating from Judson -- is 19-year-old De'Jah Allen, a 2016 Judson High School graduate.

"Before I got in this class, I was doing a lot of things I shouldn't have," said Allen. "Mr. Bailey was someone that was like a father figure to me growing up and still is to this day."

All of Allen's hard work is paying off as she is attending Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, on a full-ride scholarship -- something she wasn't expecting.

She went into her quarter round and performed and when she walked out the lead coach from Wiley College met her at the door and said to De'Jah, "Hey you're awesome, I'd like to offer you a full scholarship. And she came to me to ask if the guy was 'for real,'" Bailey said.

Before theater, Allen played basketball for Judson -- Allen's mother had to adjust from cheering her on at a game watching her in silence on a stage, but in time the scholarship was enough to prove that her passion for the arts was the positive change she needed.

"She (Allen's mother) didn't think it was for me," said Allen. "When I got the scholarship, it hit her and I just want to make a better person for myself and for my siblings."

For the past six years the students have earned four state UIL titles. 

The team competes all year long and only 25 out of a hundred who audition will make the cut.

Winning state at UIL competitions is a pattern Bailey hopes to continue to see, especially if it can turn a student's life from negative to positive.

"They learn all that confidence you need, for not just performance, you need for job interviews, you need it interacting socially," said Bailey. "It just makes them a well-rounded adult."

"If it wasn't for him (Bailey), I wouldn't be the person I am today," Allen said.

Thank you to Go Public and Orangetheory Fitness for making these Cool Schools features possible.

For more information, visit wegopublic.com.

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