Students from Marianas High School and Francisco M. Sablan Middle School successfully represented the CNMI at the 2019 International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, winning several major awards and garnering superior ratings for their performances.
MHS Glee Club, also known as Rhythm ‘N Harmony, received first place in the special event called “Festival’s Got Talent.” This event allows each performer to showcase their unique talents in just five minutes. Jonathan Wolf also received second place for the same event.
Cesiah Maclang and Jenikah Elayda’s short film documentary, Starting Over Again, garnered a superior rating and was showcased in the festival’s main stage—the highest achievement at the festival. The film is about the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu and Maclang and Elayda managed to raise awareness and tell the stories of the people that suffered through the typhoon.
Maclang said the film got great feedback from the judges and beat out nine other films at the festival.
Elayda herself was shocked that their film was able to obtain the highest achievement at the festival. She is grateful and proud that they told the story of the typhoon aftermath at an international competition. Maclang added that the audience appreciated their film, stating that they were able to “sympathize and witness our island’s resiliency.”
The film also portrays Elayda’s personal story. Her family lost their home after the typhoon. They had almost nothing left and they had no idea how to start over. The house shown in the film was Elayda’s family house, which represented the many families who have lost their homes and are still recovering up to now. “Everyone suffered devastating effects from [Super] Typhoon Yutu and I wanted to summarize in one film the different stories that I’ve heard. Many people lost their homes. This film is meant to be a voice for those people,” Elayda said.
Many CNMI students also received superior ratings in different events: Juliet Inocencio for Solo Musical, Kelvin and Jonathan Wolf for Duet Acting, Rownel Jody Coloma for Theater Marketing, and Mica Sune and Donnarose Santiago for Duet Musical. (Reica Ramirez)