Clear the way and set the stage…

Anabelle Sumera-Decoret

Anabelle+Sumera-Decoret+dancing+swaggily+as+Grand+Master+Chad+in+the+drama+departments+production+of+Legally+Blonde.

© HAWKEYE Emmalee Harmon

Anabelle Sumera-Decoret in her senior year as Grand Master Chad in the MTHS drama department production of “Legally Blonde.”

By Virginia Alsept-Beaty, Hawkeye Staff

Senior Anabelle Sumera-Decoret has enjoyed acting for as long as she can remember. She got her start in acting when she was in elementary school, falling in love with the art after participating in musicals as a sixth-grader.

“Ever since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed performing,” Sumera-Decoret said. “I was always singing and performing shows for my family and friends. It’s always been an integral part of me.”

Known as Amber by her friends, Sumera-Decoret has had a fulfilling and creatively motivated high school career at MTHS. Not only has she participated in many drama productions, but she’s also taken on active leadership roles in Jazz 1. After high school, Sumera-Decoret is planning on going to Elon University to earn a BFA in acting, and will eventually pursue acting as her career.

When the time came for her to move up to high school, Sumera-Decoret had to weigh her options. Seeing that she lived near Lynnwood H.S., she would have gone there, but decided against it, as she thought MTHS had the better drama program and wanted to stay with her friends. 

“A lot of my close friends were transferring to Terrace as well for the STEM program, so I knew that if I went to Terrace, they’d stick with me,” Sumera-Decoret said.

Sumera-Decoret has been cast in many musicals and plays here at MTHS, such as “Little Shop of Horrors,” “She Kills Monsters,” “Quilters” and “Godspell.” The first musical she was cast in was “Little Shop of Horrors,” playing a street urchin named Chiffon when she was only a freshman. 

“That was a big feat for me because it was a cut musical, so only a certain amount of people would get in and I, this little freshman, managed to make it,” she said. 

Of all the drama productions she has been in, Sumera-Decoret’s most memorable was “She Kills Monsters,” where she starred as Tilly Evans. Her favorite scene was when her character, Tilly, has an argument with her sister, Agnes, and calls her out for Agnes’ homophobic behavior. After, they encounter two cheerleader bullies and Tilly is assaulted by one of them.

“Agnes stands up and asks if [Tilly’s] okay, and I got to let out this guttural scream of ‘No!’ at her before running offstage crying,” Sumera-Decoret said. “That was really fun, because my friends would come to the show afterward and say ‘Your acting made me cry!’”

On top of “She Kills Monsters” and other productions she’s performed in, the Terrace drama department has given Sumera-Decoret even more one-of-a-kind experiences. In her freshman year, she was able to go to the International Thespian Festival, flying all the way to Lincoln, Neb. to partake. 

“We got to stay a few days at this festival where we got to go to workshops and watch other schools’ productions of shows,” Sumera-Decoret said. 

Her freshman year was the first time she was able to get close with the upperclassmen in drama, and she’s kept those friendships to this day.

After spending a year and a half online in her sophomore and junior years due to COVID, some of the traditions that had built up after so long in both drama and Jazz 1 had been lost, and the feeling of connectedness was difficult to reestablish. When students returned to campus in the spring of 2021, MTHS band director Darin Faul reached out to Sumera-Decoret and other band members to start a student leadership group. She gladly took on the role, and worked with other students to rebuild the community for both drama and band.

“There were some traditions that have probably been lost in the transition, and definitely in the drama program,” Sumera-Decoret said. “It’s been a little bit more of a struggle to connect with the upperclassmen, so the same relationships I had in freshman year weren’t really fostered for this year. But, with all things considered, it has been a good year [since] it’s still a program that’s being rebuilt and that we are still fostering.”

When she is able to, Sumera-Decoret also enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with her upperclassmen alumni.

“Depending on the session, things can get really dramatic, or in combat when someone nearly dies and we’re all really stressed,” she said. “There are other times when someone does something that’s really funny and everyone just bursts out laughing.”

Sumera-Decoret enjoys the positive environment that’s unlike anything else when she plays D&D, and doesn’t intend to stop after high school. 

Like many students, Sumera-Decoret struggled heavily during online learning in her junior year. 

“Junior year, online, was definitely my lowest point, probably in life to be honest,” Sumera-Decoret said. “I was crying a lot and felt apathetic. I was mentally exhausted, refusing to do assignments.”

Through the difficulties, she found comfort in her friends, connecting with them and talking about their struggles over Discord. She got through her junior year with their support, and is now ending off her senior year with an ambitious future ahead of her. 

After college, Sumera-Decoret plans to go into TV and film acting, wanting to support herself and her family financially all while fulfilling her creative desires. She wants to participate in action movies and shows, aspiring to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe someday. Her ultimate goal is acting in a big show like “Stranger Things.”

“I really want to play a character that other people can then take and make fanart and do character analyses [of],” she said. “I want to be able to create something that other people can have and make more things out of.” 

Through everything, Sumera-Decoret’s mom has been one of her biggest supporters.

“My mom has come to all of my performances, she helped me figure out what college I’m going to, she helped pay for my college counselor; she has always been there for me and she lets me know that she loves and cares for me,” Sumera-Decoret said. “She has also taken care of my friends and lets them know that they are loved and cared for. She just tries her best to be as good of a person as she can, and I really appreciate that.”

Over the course of her years in high school, Sumera-Decoret was able to get a better understanding of herself and the person she wants to be in the future. 

“[In freshman year] I had the foundations. I had an idea of who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go,” she said. “I think high school for me was just navigating the process of solidifying my identity.”

Through the experiences she’s had, passions she’s delved into, friendships she’s formed and obstacles she’s overcome, Sumera-Decoret has made tremendous growth in high school, and will only grow more as she faces new challenges and gains new opportunities in her future endeavors.

“I’ve always had this idea of wanting to be a kind, open person that’s easy to talk to; someone you can rely on and trust,” she said. “I want to be this creative, passionate and driven person when it comes to things that I want to do in life. Each obstacle that I overcame, or each thing I learned about myself, about others and about life, would be one step closer to reaching that image of myself.”