OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs High School drama team is preparing to step into the spotlight on a big stage. This is after their performance earned one of the top spots in the state theater competition.
First year drama teacher Chris Permenter has really set the bar high for himself and his students. Where many see high expectations, he sees more opportunities.
"We started at a good point, so it's only up from here, which is exciting," said Permenter.
His competition theater team, the Drama Dawgs, came back from the Mississippi Theater Association's statewide competition with handfuls of awards, including second place in the state and an invitation to perform at the Southeastern Theater Conference in Kentucky.
Permenter credits the kids on his team for the accolades, but they say the program is really taking off under his leadership.
Permenter isn't the only one new to the program. Bryce Watson was a little intimidated by the group when he moved here from Florida last year.
"I just heard that it was a very competitive troupe and that things were going to be difficult, and it was never that hard in my old troupes," said Bryce.
Imagine Watson's surprise when he landed a lead role and helped his team advance to one of the top levels of high school theater. It's a feeling that brings him and his stage mates a big sense of accomplishment. Julia Carpenter has been performing since she was little. Her passion keeps her returning to the stage year after year.
"I really like stepping out of my life and stepping into a different person's life that I have the ability to create," said Julia.
It's that passion that Abbigail Radius said helps her get into character. She also believes it's the dynamic of the group that makes the success possible.
"Everyone here is one big family. This is literally what I call my second home," said Abbigail.
According to Abbigail, the reaction at school to the accomplishments has been amazing.
"I feel like the theater program is finally becoming something that people want to be a part of," Abbigail said.
The Drama Dawgs' trip to Kentucky for SETC is in March. The group has scheduled a fundraiser performance of its award-winning show, "Argonautika," for Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at Ocean Springs High School.