Staff writer finds friend from ‘rival’ school

By: Madeline Nicol

Greeted with the smell of Versace cologne and the bright lights in my eyes, I enter the Oster Regent Theatre for Mary Poppins rehearsal. I follow the rows down to the stage where I see a bright eyed brunette freshman looking me in the eyes: Marley Millar, my best friend who goes to West. But this isn’t where things started between us, about a year ago Marley was starring as Jojo in Waterloo Community Playhouse’ production of Seussical. It was such a coincidence — a mutual friend of ours told me about her, and when I knew there was another Newsies fan in the area,I immediately entered a contest to win tickets to Seussical, and I received opening night tickets.

I vaguely remember loving the show, Marley clad in her yellow shirt and khaki shorts, a Jojo staple for the show of Seussical. Throughout the show my eyes were wandering, always keeping up with the action on stage, but inside I was super nervous. I had talked to Marley through Facebook, but would we have that same connection in real life? The show ended, the cast bowed, and the curtains closed, taking my anxiety with them. It was time to officially meet Marley.

Since it was opening night, there was a reception after the show, so I was waiting by the doors of the audience for Marley to get dressed and come out to the reception. The second I saw her, there were no words, just hugs on top of hugs. Eventually we did let go and started talking about Newsies and other important acting subjects. I told her she did a great job, promised to actually hang out soon and walked out to my car.

And now? Hugging is the definite go to greeting for each other. We’re usually discussing Newsies, our Mary Poppins choreography or about our days at school.

We go to two different schools, and it’s such an ironic coincidence that our schools are rivals because we are far from ever relating to our schools on that note. A West and Cedar Falls friendship? No, we’re not crazy. We’re very lucky. While it’s great to have friends in your school, I know that forever I’ll treasure having theater as a place to meet friends from other schools, and having Marley as such a great friend.

Being friends has really helped my understanding of the Waterloo school system and what it’s really like at West, which isn’t bad. Taking one experience you have from Waterloo, or one experience with a West student and judging every student or  the whole population of Waterloo based on that one experience isn’t fair, and it’s an overgeneralization.

Find something that links you with other schools. It could be anything from community theater, to Teen Trust or even just volunteering at the food bank or community center, I promise it’s a great experience. And who knows? You might just meet your best friend.

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