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story.lead_photo.caption Texas High School senior Lia Graham has been named a State Thespian officer for the Texas Thespian Festival. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Being named a State Thespian officer for the Texas Thespian Festival was confirmation for Texas High School senior Lia Graham that her hard work and dedication had been noticed.

"I was absolutely thrilled and very surprised because I don't really win a lot of things," Lia said. "For them to choose me just kind of showed me that my hard work was paying off, and it was worth all of it."

Graham was one of 18 theater students in the state to be selected from one of the largest theater festivals in the country.

Typically, more than 7,000 students attend.

Graham, who is the president of her drama troupe and also the academics and organization editor for the Texas High yearbook, had to go through the process of being selected by working at various booths and learning under previous State Thespian Officers. She now serves as the troupe liaison and is on the leadership committee for the State Officer Board. "I'm the voice for the troupes in Texas on the officer board," she said. "Other officers are leadership chairs, advocacy chairs or social media chairs. I just make sure that the troupes have fun activities to do and are taken into account in decisions."

As a member of the leadership committee, she helped lead three workshops that averaged about 70 students per session.

The festival was all-virtual this year, which Graham said brought unique challenges to the table.

"It was a big change because you didn't have that in-person reaction," she said.

"Getting troupes more involved was really difficult because it's easy for people to go off individually at their own homes and attend festivals online, but not stay involved. You're not with the troupe doing stuff constantly, like usual. So, we had to figure out ways to keep them involved."

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