Scecina Memorial High School wins grant through NBC show 'Rise'

Scecina gets "Rise" grant
Scecina Memorial High School wins grant through NBC's 'Rise'

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - An Indianapolis high school got a big boost from a new NBC show.

The theatre department at Scecina Memorial High School was awarded a $10,000 grant from the show "Rise," which premiered Tuesday night on Channel 13.

The sign in front of the school says "Discover opportunities" and that is exactly what Scecina's theatre department is all about. Inside, the cast of "In The Heights" was busy practicing - and learning - on Tuesday.

"The adrenaline rush on the stage is an amazing feeling," female lead Monica Higgins, a senior at Scecina, explained.

"I really like the fact that I can portray someone else's story without telling my own," senior DeChelle Turner added.

"Looking at things outside of your perspective. I think in the world we are living in, you need to see more than your own perspective," the male lead, senior Kerrington Shorter, said.

"They have a lot of challenges in their daily lives then they get to come and spend two hours with me in the evening and I get to watch them shine," theatre director Leslie Young said.

So imagine everyone's surprise when they learned Young had nominated the program for a $10,000 Rise America grant and the entry was one of 50 selected out of 1,000 entries.

"I was sitting by myself in the car and I actually had to pinch myself because I could not believe it," Young remembered.

"We don't usually get that much funding for this program, so to hear we got $10,000 for it is kind of crazy," senior Nathan Christopher said.

"Just shows her initiative. I think she does a great job with the limited resources that we do have," said senior Cobie Dillard, who is acting in his first show.

The cast watched NBC's new show at a viewing party at the school Tuesday night.

"Theatre kids get together and they are just making it their high school and exploring their passion for theatre," senior Isabelle Leffler said, explaining what "Rise" is about.

It's a topic these kids are very familiar with, because they are living it.

"Being a part of the musical is kind of like really fun to be a part of," junior Kimberly Guerrero said.

"Just being able to do something different. Being able to come together with new people. Getting to know them better," said senior Jose Flores.

"Being a part of the theatre program really has let me step out of my comfort zone," junior Araceli Rubalcava noted.

It's all about discovering opportunities.

Scecina's production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In The Heights" is scheduled to run March 23 and 24 at 7 p.m.

"Rise" is about a small town high school theatre program shaken up when a new teacher takes over. That teacher is played by "How I Met Your Mother" alum Josh Radnor.

"They're about real people going through real stuff. They're complicated. There's no villains and good guys. It's just people. It's dimensional and it's about people rising to the occasion of the lives and becoming their best selves," Radnor explained.

"Rise" comes from the same creator of TV shows "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood."

You can watch "Rise" Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on Channel 13.