Senior earns top award at Thespian Competition


Lauren Molenda shows off her award at the State Thespian Competition.

Tamia Ware, Staff Writer

At the State Thespian Competition, the MHS Thespian Troupe members won many awards, with Senior Lauren Molenda earning the Distinguished Senior Award as the most outstanding senior in Indiana.

Molenda felt honored to win the award and feels it is a reflection of her hard work for thespians across the state of Indiana. 

“Having the opportunity to represent thespians in my home and in my state has really been special to me and has given me some of the best experiences of my life,” Molenda said. “I’ve not only had the opportunity to dive into the professional side of theatre and adapt and grow the foundation of Indiana Thespians, but I’ve also made lifelong friends and have loved every second of what I’ve done.”

Ironically, Molenda was so busy helping out that day that she almost missed the announcement of her award.

“Just before they started announcing awards I was presenting our State Thespian Officer (STO) introduction on the stage, and had just left the auditorium to take a little break,” Molenda said. “When the STO coordinator heard they were now announcing awards and I was missing it, she pushed me back into the auditorium. Right as I went to sit next to Mr. Mackey, they announced my name as the award recipient. I was so shocked and a little confused at first, but still so excited to be recognized at this level.”

Molenda feels the most special part of winning the award was her interaction with Mr. Mackey after she won it.

“As I went to sit back down, I thanked Mackey for nominating me and told him how much I really appreciated it, and he said ‘Well you earned it,’” Molenda said. 

The Troupe as a whole won the Gold Honor ranking, the highest possible ranking, for the fourth straight year. Senior Leah Peloza created the portfolio that helped win the award.

Seniors Priya Hildebrand and Merci Tan also earned recognition, winning almost $60,000 in scholarship offers from four different universities.

Molenda has been a part of the Thespian Troupe since her freshman year, holding multiple leadership positions that allowed her to gain more professional experience in theater.

“Since my freshman year, I’ve also had the opportunity to perform in multiple shows here and even direct one,” Molenda said. “The benefits of theatre are endless, and having the opportunities to share my passion at this level has been such a blessing. With every rehearsal, I grow more and discover more about myself and my abilities, and having the opportunity to participate in theatre has truly been the highlight of my high school education.”

Being a thespian also allowed Molenda to develop friendships with people she might not have interacted with otherwise. 

“Over the years I have created such a strong bond with a lot of my friends in the Thespian Troupe, especially the seniors,” Molenda said. “A lot of us started out doing theatre at Pierce in seventh grade, and it’s all been up from there. 

“Having the encouragement and support from my peers has really motivated me to put my best efforts into all that I do, whether it be pushing through and getting outside of my comfort zone in a rehearsal or driving myself to represent my troupe on the state level.”