By Elektra Sipars
(North Bergen–February 5, 2016) Written, directed, and performed by High Tech High School students, The High Tech Talk Show: Start the Conversation offers both a serious and humorous performance that addresses the support services made available to freshmen, including board policies on bullying, to foster a positive culture at High Tech, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.
Senior Emory Kemph, a Weehawken resident, originated the idea for The High Tech Talk Show: Start the Conversation after experiencing anxiety during her sophomore year. During her junior year, she became acutely aware that she didn’t struggle with harrowing challenges alone, that quite a few other students had experienced similar trials. Aware that bullying, a subject mandated for discussion in all schools today, might merely be the tip of the iceberg, Kemph sought a creative means to address the myriad concerns that affect so many students in their everyday lives.
Kemph admitted to having had a great support system, yet she believed that other high school students might not be as fortunate as she. Thus, she wanted to make a difference for them. Drawing inspiration from theatrical productions on mental wellness and bullying at colleges all across the country, Kemph, a drama major herself, ran with the idea for The High Tech Talk Show: Start the Conversation to promote mental health services at High Tech and make it easier for kids to feel comfortable in seeking out help.
Embraced by administrators and performed by students from the Peer Leadership Club for freshmen at High Tech, The High Tech Talk Show: Start the Conversationoffers a series of vignettes that center on such student challenges as romance, succeeding in class, peer pressure, insecurity, bullying, and loneliness. Each vignette proves relatable to most students and concludes with information on places to fseek help. To ensure the spread of the production’s message, members of the Peer Leadership Club who did not perform, along with Valeria Arias, High Tech social worker and Peer Leadership advisor, and Catherine Alvarez, freshman guidance counselor, attended all Freshman Orientation classes to discuss The High Tech Talk Show: Start the Conversation. Other Peer Leadership advisors, Elektra Sipars, Annemarie Gogliucci-Ponce, and Linda DiGiacomo, also surveyed students on their thoughts.
Due to its stellar reception, The High Tech Talk Show: Start the Conversation will be performed again in the Blackbox Theater at North Hudson Center of Hudson County Schools of Technology on March 23rdat 9:30 am, specifically for the Hudson County Social Emotional Consortioum.