If you attend one of Tigard High School’s theatre productions, you will be welcomed with a smile and a wave from Katie Morales. Morales is a senior at Tigard High School (THS) and a fourth-year participant in the theatre department. Faculty and staff at THS nominated Morales as an exemplary student showing extreme ownership in her roles in clubs, classes and the theatre department.
Associate Principal, Lisa Dailey, spoke to Morales’s efforts to create a safe space for students at THS. “Katie has emerged as a student leader with a focused mission to increase diversity in our theater program. For someone her age, she has impressed us with her courage to facilitate uncomfortable conversations that support this mission by bringing a set of clear core values with her. Tigard High School is proud of her efforts of advocacy, diversity and equity,” Dailey says.
Morales is proud of being a student at THS. “I love being a student here because I feel like I’m being heard. The administration works really hard to make sure we feel safe,” Morales says.
Theatre caught Morales’s attention during her freshman year, and over her time at THS continues to get more involved. The theatre department encourages diversity thanks to Morales’s efforts. “When I first got into theatre I noticed that there weren’t many people who look like me. Over the years, I’ve brought in people who look like me and others. I’m trying to get people from various ethnicities to join. There’s always room for improvement and change needs to happen,” Morales says.
Looking back at her time at THS, Morales is proud of what she has accomplished in helping make other students feel safe. For Morales, she values family highly and views the group of students in theatre as a second family. “There will always going to be ups and downs, but in the end, it’s home,” Morales explains.
Her “second family” works closely together on set and at rehearsals and bond over shared department dinners. Morales’s role is to make sure those who come to the productions are welcomed and feel invited.
Todd Hermanson, a teacher in the Department of Theatre Arts at THS, describes Morales’s pivotal role as elected membership officer of the Tigard Thespian Troupe (a troupe a part of the International Thespian Society honoring students in theatre). “The club elected her last year to be the membership officer demonstrating trust in her to stay organized and lead the club in this area. She has encouraged all students in the club to accept differences and reduce negative judgments or actions that make other students feel isolated. Much of this is due to her positive efforts,” Hermanson says.
Along with her passion for theatre, Morales is involved in Advancement Via Individual Determination (college readiness program), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlánone (an organization encouraging Chicano unity and empowerment), Climate Club, Save the Bees Club, and Astronomy Club.
One of her favorite classes is English. Although she hasn’t decided where she wants to go to college, she looks forward to combining her writing and photography skills as a photojournalism major. She is sad to leave her lifelong home in Tigard and her friends at THS, but encouraged by the adventure waiting for her at college.