STARs in the making: an inside look at the program


Every day as you walk down the hallways, you are surrounded by the STARs of Marian.

STARs, or Student Theater Aid Resource students, are chosen applicants that work the lights and sound backstage in the PAC.

“When we first started, students got teacher recommendations to apply, but now you fill out the application and then get trained by the seniors in the program,” Mrs. Michelle Delisi, the STARs moderator and Assistant to the Principal said. “If you want to be a STAR, you can!”

Once chosen to be a STAR, the student goes through training workshops taught by current seniors and STAR alumnae. They train the “newbies” on how to perfect the lights and sound.

STARS Shine Bright • Back row: Lily Weindel ’20, Liz Young ’20, Delaney Baumberger ’20 and Isha Kishore ’20. Front row: Chrissy Gulseth ’20, Katie Tiojanco ’20 and Kate McGill ’21. Photo courtesy of Katie Tiojanco.

This year, senior Katie Tiojanco will do the light and sound training. Tiojanco joined the STARs program during her sophomore year and has been enjoying it ever since.

“It’s really odd teaching someone else from the beginning, but it’s awesome to see the girls pick up the concepts quickly,” Tiojanco said. “I really love designing the lighting and intermixing different colors to fit the theme and scene of the show.”

“Ms. Morrissey [choir director] and I learn right along with them,’’ Delisi said. “Katie is amazing with the lights. She has a great flair for light design, and she just learned it from past seniors like everyone else.”

This just goes to show that anyone can apply for STARs with little to no experience and still become a shining STAR by senior year.

STARs can be seen working behind the scenes of the fall musical and spring play.

While they might not be at the forefront of the show, they are a vital part in ensuring that the show runs smoothly. They also work events such as the Pops Concert and Instrumental Concert. They receive tuition reimbursement through Marian for helping out with these concerts.

Marian also rents out the PAC as a venue for local events. These rentals pay the STARs workers $25 an hour for their help backstage. Tiojanco meets with the rental director prior to the event to block out the light plot and prepare for the event. “I prefer working the rental events because I have more of an artistic freedom with the colors and lighting,” Tiojanco said. The money raised from renting out the PAC is used for PAC upkeep such as light replacements and tech repairs.

“We really need more STARs. If any student likes that sort of thing, they should look into the program. It’s really a great opportunity!” Delisi said.

“I would tell anyone interested in the program that it’s a lot to learn, but you end up learning so much more than anyone else, which is pretty cool. The hard work is definitely worth it and the girls who are STARs become a little family,” Tiojanco said.

Look out for a STARs application in your email from Delisi in the near future.

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