Arts grant could produce a local star

Published 12:36 am Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Demopolis City Schools system was overjoyed to hear that it had gotten a $3-million construction grant to renovate the auditorium at Demopolis High School. It will be used to help produce the performing arts center that school administrators dreamed of when they were constructing the current high school building.

A lot of folks may ask what the big deal is in putting money into the performing arts.

When I moved away from here the summer after my junior year in high school, we went to Murray, Ky., and I finished my secondary education at Murray High School.

Email newsletter signup

Murray High is a little smaller than Linden High School, but it had a lot invested in it. It was in a state-of-the-art building, and the emphasis that it placed on academic excellence goes far beyond that overused phrase.

It did not have a performing arts center, but it had an outstanding forensics team, which I found out doesn’t mean they do autopsies, but it is like a speech or debate club, but in their competitions, they do a lot of short performances as well.

One girl who was one grade behind me really enjoyed performing. She took part in the community theater as well as with the forensics team. Her name is Kellie Overbey.

She went to Northwestern and studied drama, and before long, she had her first public role on TV, on “CBS Summer Playhouse.”

From there’s she’s been in “Law & Order,” “Quantum Leap” and “The Stand.”

I watched her on TV last weekend in a movie called “Outbreak.” She performed alongside Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman and Donald Sutherland. Good work, if you can find it.

Last Tuesday, I wasn’t able to see her in the TV show “The Good Wife,” but I was told that she did a really good job.

The point is that you don’t have to go to high school in Hollywood to learn how to be a good actor. It can all begin in a rural school just like the ones we have here.

It takes talent, and I think we have that here. It takes encouragement to bring that talent out and it takes some commitment in the schools to help bring that talent out among those who may want a career in theater or who just want to see what it’s like.

This grant will help bring that talent out in Demopolis. Who knows? We may have an actor in the making right here.

David B. Snow is the managing editor of the Demopolis Times.