FHN Students Leave Early from Annual Thespian Conference


Credit to Diana Clive

The room fell silent as students comprehended the bad news. It wasn’t long before there was frustration and tears from students who had been awaiting a weekend that was cut short.  The annual Missouri State Thespian Conference was held in the downtown St. Louis Marriott Grand Hotel from Jan. 11 to Jan. 14.  But due to an impending storm that would cause poor road conditions, FHN students were transported home the evening of Jan. 12.

“The minute that Mrs. Sulzner told us that we were going home, I was not thinking about myself or how disappointing it was for me,” senior Anastasia Voropayeva said.  “I was thinking about my parents who worked to save money and give me a chance to experience something new, something that I’m very passionate about.  To give me a chance to open doors in the future that I really want.  I was thinking how I could explain that to them; I just couldn’t think of anything to say.”

Bad weather has commonly caused problems for the thespian conference in the past, and FHN was not the only school whose experience was cut short.  By the end of the conference, it appeared that less than half of the registered schools were able to stay for the duration.

“I just hope that maybe after this experience, the people at the state level will consider moving it to a different time period,” theatre sponsor Kim Sulzner said. “This is not the first time this has happened and we can pretty much guarantee it’s not going to be the last time if they keep doing this in January.  January weather is, if nothing else, predictably unpredictable.”

Despite the poor weather conditions, nearly half of FHN students were able to return to the conference by their own transportation and attend a number of interesting workshops and performances.  Students like Voropayeva attended callbacks for scholarship auditions, and each of the five members of the tech challenge team were present on Jan. 14 to receive their first place trophy for the costume quick-change event. Senior Marjorie Palmer wasn’t able to return, but still found the single day she was there worthwhile.

“Even though we didn’t get everything that we were expecting to get out of it, we still had a really good time with our friends and we spent a lot of valuable time together that I don’t think a lot of us would get otherwise,” Palmer said. “Some people say that struggles are the best way to get people together, and I think that might have been what happened here.”