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Theater students at C.H. Yoe High School advance to UIL area competition for first time in 5 years

Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 05, 2024

CAMERON, Texas — Theater students at C.H. Yoe High School are after advancing to the UIL area competition even after receiving a limited amount of state funding.

  • It's the first time students are advancing to area since 2017.
  • Texas ranked 47th in funding for fine arts in 2023, only spending about 34 cents per capita, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
  • If they place first or second at their performance Wednesday afternoon at Midway High School, they'll advance to region.


Being in the spotlight is new for Junior Samara Garrett, but she's far from amateur.

"I really got involved with theater when I was around eight or nine years old,” Garrett said.

Now, in “The Revolutionists,” the first play Cameron ISD students are taking to the area competition since 2017.

But first-year Director Denise Larsen says the journey to center stage wasn't easy.

"We've been working on it since January. We came back from school so and it's just you know, having that rehearsal consistency every week. And working with a bunch of different schedules,” Larsen said.

Rural schools only offer about 13% of all fine arts courses in Texas, and the “Lone Star” state ranks 47th in funding for the arts, spending only 34 cents per capita.

But Larsen says the program doesn't lack support from the district.

"Our principal's very supportive, and that's a big part of it, is administration being very supportive. We're slowly kind of trying to build the program," she said.

By casting students like Garrett’s co-star Brooklyn Wright, she's learning more about herself.

"I've noticed that I have gotten a lot more talkative with people like before I started actually doing theater. I highly doubt people actually have ever heard me speak, and now people — I have more friends,” Wright said.

And they're both hoping for a full house.

"It feels so surreal because I’ve dreamt of this day, but I never really thought it would happen," Garrett said.