Regis High School photo
Students from Regis perform Willy Wonka  last year.
Regis High School photo
Students from Regis perform Willy Wonka  last year.
STAYTON — Regis High School has revived an organization aiming to expand and support the school's arts programs. The move is getting noticed in this sports-crazy region whose teams have legendary success.    

The STAR Guild began in 2006, but lost steam. Former teacher and parent Sue Harteloo is guild president, with support from Regis Principal Joni Gilles and especially drama director Anna Boedigheimer.

“The STAR Guild will provide the support and fundraising we need to grow and maintain a strong, vibrant arts community at Regis,” says Boedigheimer.

Boedigheimer is in her fourth year as drama director. She also works at St. Mary  School as drama teacher. This year at St. Mary's, Boedigheimer’s former student Nick Kintz started an early bird drama program for fifth through eighth graders who meet early two days per week.  

At Regis, Boedigheimer directs two plays, one play in the fall and one musical in the spring. This fall’s play is a murder mystery comedy called, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940," which ends Nov. 17.

“The Guild will support drama and the applied arts, and we do have a desire to bring back a music program at Regis," Harteloo says. "I look forward to seeing the arts be as much of a community draw as athletics are. We have so much talent in the arts that goes somewhat unnoticed.”

Harteloo, who went to Sacred Heart Academy in Salem, was not an athlete. She did have a fine drama teacher and had a flair for the stage.

"It exposes that side of kids that wants to do something different," Harteloo says. "We are so driven toward athletics. There are other things. Arts of all kinds make people's hearts sing."

Harteloo has seen drama make a difference in young lives.

 "I like playing basketball, but drama feels different. I like entertaining," says Liam Silbernagel, a Regis senior. He's been in a half dozen productions so far and knows how helpful it would be for the school to have a new auditorium.

Silbernagel has noticed a trend in support toward drama in the past few years. Once people see how good the productions are, word seems to spread.

"Drama helps you communicate with other people and mix socially," he says. "It brings out a side people don't see in you."

Alicia Blair, a sophomore exchange student from Switzerland, says she does not naturally want to stand up and talk to people. But when she's on stage as a character, she loves it. In the current play, she portrays a slightly deranged German maid who gets laughs. She plans to continue drama when she returns to Switzerland.