TOME — Bravo! Valencia High School is one of six schools across the state selected to participate in Popejoy’s Broadway for Teens program.
This is their second year conducting the Broadway for Teens program, which brings students from high schools across New Mexico to Popejoy Hall to experience top-tier Broadway shows free of charge. Popejoy Hall is a premier performing arts center located on the University of New Mexico campus.
“Popejoy Hall’s mission is to make the performing arts accessible to all New Mexicans,” stated a press release. “The Broadway for Teens education program enhances the cultural life and global awareness of our teens, especially those living in rural communities throughout New Mexico.”
Wagon Mound High School, Pecos High School, West Mesa High School, Las Cruces Arrowhead Park Early College High School and Dulce High School are also among this year’s selections.
Students from each school will attend the Oct. 19 performance of Disney’s “The Lion King” at Popejoy Hall. Funding for the tickets was made possible by Popejoy’s Excellence Endowment.
VHS was selected this year thanks to a compelling letter written by VHS juniors Brandy O’connor and Angela Johnson as part of the application process. Maryellen Missik-Tow, Popejoy’s development director, said it was one of the best letters they’ve received through the program.
“We applied because it sounded like a super fun and great experience,” said Johnson. “We have a new drama department, so showing kids what drama is would be a really big thing for them.”
Johnson, O’connor and 40 other VHS students that the school selects will be attending the upcoming performance along with a few faculty members.
“It’s a great opportunity for our school because not a lot of kids here have had the opportunity to experience theater,” said O’connor.
Popejoy director Fabianna Borghese said the letters the board received were all very touching and the Broadway for Teens program provides unique, meaningful experiences for students.
“These sort of programs are important because it expands their horizons and really opens up possibilities these kids may have not considered or thought of,” said Borghese. “Live theater and music really touches your soul, and there are lots of creative outlets and opportunities that live theater helps produce.”
Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.