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Students grow through theater with “La Memorias”

SEASIDE, Calif. (KION-TV)- A California State University Monterey Bay youth program invites high school students to get the college experience and learn to develop essential life skills through theater.

Monterey County high school students spend two weeks on the college campus where they will perform in a play made of their memories.

“The idea that young people can write their own stories is something that is not happening in schools, and it is something very powerful,” said AnaMaria Correa, director and co-founder of “Las Memorias.” "Let them know that this program is really putting the spotlight on another person and giving them a moment, a moment of power, a moment to say, 'I have a voice, I'm here, see me, see me,'"

Using a technique called Performance as Education created by John Fraire and AnaMaria Correa, students write stories about their lives and experiences and meet with a professional theater team. Together, they make "Las Memorias." A theatrical production in which students perform their personal stories.

“I wanted to see if theater was my thing,” said Karina Cruz Perez of Greenfield High School. “It opened up my feelings a lot. I felt more comfortable knowing that we are not alone and there are difficult things that we face. And sometimes we need to leave them. Knowing that some people are there for you.”

Karina Cruz Perez from Greenfield High School performing "Las Memorias" at CSUMB

The show gave the students a sense of independence—treating them like professional actors with respect that goes above and beyond how they are treated in ordinary life as young people.

For many of the students who participated, this was their first time being away from home.

“I felt very scared because since I came here alone, I am the only one from King City,” said Ariadna Aparicio of King City High School. "It's my first time doing this."

Ariadna Aparicio from King City High School performing "Las Memorias" at CSUMB

However, Ariadna said that she had a good time and learned that “we all have many things that happen in our lives that are very different from one's own. We have to keep that in mind.”

They will be playing at The World Theater in CSUMB on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Robert Station Theater at King City High on Saturday at 6 p.m. Click here for more information.

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Melody Waintal

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