MAIZE, Kan. (KAKE) - Hundreds of high school school students visited Kansas's state capital earlier this week- all with the common goal of advocacy. 

“Theater is who I am and I definitely do not know where I would be without it,” said Emma Dugan, senior at Maize High School. 

Emma Dugan has been doing theater since she was 4 years old and so she knows the importance of fine arts in schools. That's why she and other theater kids were excited to gather on the Kansas House floor to advocate for theater and arts in our schools. 

“It was just really cool to see how lots of these representatives and senators have had experiences with theater and that they’ve helped them become who they are as a politician,” said Dugan.

250 high schoolers from across Kansas visited the state capital to talk with legislators about the importance of keeping fine arts in schools. 

 “It was just really nice to see all the schools come together to support the same cause even though we’re all from other troupes,” said Marley Vest, junior MHS. 

Vest was one of 13 Maize High schoolers who attended the student-led advocacy day in Topeka. She and others met with legislators and asked them to continue funding theater and the arts in schools.

 “I could tell that they really cared a lot about theater in our schools and it was really nice to see some support from people as big as them,” said Vest. 

This was Maize High’s third time attending Advocacy Day, which is held in March because that is “theater in our schools month.” 

“It showed me just how much it can help to talk to our legislation about how important things are to us and show them that we do care and they should help and advocate for it,” said Madi Heath, a freshman at MHS.

Maize High’s theater teacher says theater can teach cooperation, problem-solving, flexibility, and empathy on top of public speaking and that’s why keeping it around is so important. 

“It can definitely teach you social skills- I know that I’ve made so many friends, I’ve learned how to talk to people better. I’ve honestly learned how to be more confident and be more comfortable in my loudness,” said Izzy Rhodes, a sophomore at MHS. 

“I’ve just really grown as a person being involved in theater,” said Vest.