SAN ANTONIO (August 24, 2022) – Students from CAST Schools will take the stage at the historic Charline McCombs Empire Theatre for the premiere performance of Three Years of Fear, a play based on the book Tafolla Toro by Lorenzo Gomez III, a San Antonio native and co-founder of WeTree mental health app. The San Antonio community is invited to attend the performance on Saturday, September 3, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $5.00 – $15.00 through Ticketmaster.
The play advances conversations among students, families, and the community about mental health issues of fear, anxiety, and violence as the new school year begins.
Three Years of Fear is an adaptation of Gomez’s book Tafollo Toro, chronicling his traumatic middle school years in the early 90’s in one of San Antonio’s most crime-riddled neighborhoods. It features stories and letters to the author’s younger self that offer new perspectives and ideas based on the wisdom of hindsight and strategies learned through therapy. Following each performance, Gomez will lead a question-and-answer session to share deeper insights into his experience and perspective on addressing fear and anxiety.
“It’s been my experience that so many people struggle with fear and anxiety, but no one wants to go first and say so,” said Gomez. “This story is my way of going first and showing people that it’s ok to talk about mental health. It is my great hope that some student or young person will see the play and think to themselves, ‘I am not alone.’ And I could not have picked a better organization to partner with to get this message out than CAST Schools.”
Over the summer, Gomez worked with CAST student writers and interns in workshops where they transformed the book into a play with storyboarding, casting, choreography, and design. A Three Years of Fear Curriculum Guide was also developed for teachers to deepen the student experience by connecting the story to work being done in the classroom.
For the past four years, CAST Schools has partnered with Gomez to perform an adaptation of his book for all incoming ninth graders. At CAST Schools, the 9th grade is considered a year of self-discovery; students are encouraged to find their confidence, and engage in teams through project-based learning.
“Our goal is to kick off the school year with an invitation to talk openly about these hard topics, and it is magical to watch it unfold through this amazing student-led, artistic collaboration,” said Jeanne Russell, executive director of CAST Schools.
The cast and crew will present two performances of Three Years of Fear on Friday, September 2, and a third for the community on Saturday, Sept. 3. There will be a Friday morning performance for all CAST ninth graders and an evening performance for sponsors and other special guests who want to support the student/author artistic collaboration and conversations about mental health. Sponsorships are still available and can be purchased at this link. For more information, visit castschools.com/three-years-of-fear.
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ABOUT THE CAST Schools Network
The Centers for Applied Science & Technology (CAST) is a San Antonio-based network of tuition-free, public schools with a mission to reinvent schooling in order to maximize options for students while preparing them for college, career, and life. Open to all Bexar County students, the network includes high schools CAST Tech, CAST Teach, CAST STEM, CAST Med, CAST Lead and the Advanced Learning Academy. Schools are co-created with industry, and partner with area public school districts, including Northside, San Antonio, Southwest, and East Central ISDs. For more information, visit castschools.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.