Marian was honored to welcome back Tess Mervenne '20, who visited acting and choir classes Thursday to share her journey and offer invaluable advice to current students. Tess, who graduated from Marian and went on to pursue studies at Savannah College of Art and Design - The University for Creative Careers, brought a wealth of wisdom and encouragement to the young performers.
Tess reflected on her time with the Marian-Rice Players (MRP) and the Marian Melodies, highlighting the transformative impact these experiences had on her confidence and work ethic. "My experience with the Marian-Rice Players was pivotal to shaping my confidence level now," said Tess. "MRP taught me to be proud of what I'm passionate about, even if it's not considered the 'coolest' thing to do. My time with MRP and the Marian Melodies set a baseline for what it feels like to be a hardworking performer and to manage schoolwork/real life alongside my creative work."
As Tess progressed to college and beyond, her dedication to her craft only grew stronger. "Since I started college, I've only grown to be more focused and dedicated. My Marian experience, overall, gave me the work ethic and leadership skills that allow me to put my best foot forward in any competitive environment, especially in an audition room."
Sharing her most valuable advice with the aspiring artists, Tess emphasized the importance of taking risks and embracing failure. "My biggest piece of advice would be that it is ok to fail. You're not going to get anywhere in the acting world without taking risks and embarrassing yourself. It's important that you trust yourself and trust the process because for every 'Yes,' there are 100 'No's'. As long as you have the resilience to pick yourself up and keep trying, you will eventually get your 'Yes'."
Tess also stressed the significance of maintaining a positive attitude and supporting others. "It can be tempting to blame other people or tear others down when facing rejection, but reacting in a way that hurts other people isn't going to make you feel better. You can't control whether or not you're going to be rejected from an opportunity, but you can control how you react."
Throughout her visit, Tess shared cherished memories from her time at Marian, including lessons she learned about song selection and storytelling. She encouraged students to embrace their uniqueness and be confident in their individual paths. "I hope I was able to instill some confidence into the girls at Marian who are pursuing the performing arts now because just a few years ago, I was one of them. I want them all to know that it's kind of a superpower to be a little weird in high school."
Tess's journey from Marian to the broader world of performing arts serves as an inspiring example of how the foundation laid at Marian can empower students to excel in their chosen fields and make their mark on the world.