Senior theatre student Frank Garcia Jr. is gearing up for graduation this Spring 2017.
Garcia receives recognition as the Outstanding Theatre Student at the fifth annual School of Arts, Media and Communication Awards and has received a nomination for the Emerging Leader Award at the 2016 Division of Student Engagement and Success celebration.
“If you had asked me four years ago why I love being an actor so much, I would’ve said being on stage and getting to be somebody you’re not,” Garcia said. “But now, I love using theatre as a tool to reach other people.”
Garcia said one thing close to his heart is children’s theatre. Last summer, after working with a company called Missoula Children’s Theatre, which travels all over the United States, Garcia said the experience made him decide what he wanted to do after graduation.
“I want to have fun and show kids that you can never be too old to have fun. Theatre can do so much for someone,” Garcia said. “I want people to leave working with me feeling that no dream is too big, that they can do whatever they want because no goal is unreachable if you set your mind to it.”
Garcia said he wants to give theatre back to people and inspire people of all ages to understand that their imagination doesn’t have to die as they get older.
“I remember being in a production my freshmen year with Frank,” said Jasmine DeLeon, junior philosophy ma-jor. “It was one of my favorite productions.”
After spending a year working after high school to think about what he wanted to study, Garcia said his decision to go to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi completely changed his life.
“I’ve gained a better understanding of who I am as a person,” Garcia said. “I’ve come to love myself more than I ever have before, which is thanks to the kind of people here on campus and the friends I’ve made and the experiences we’ve shared.”
Garcia said after graduation, he will take these experiences, as well as the understanding that the only way you can love anybody else is if you love yourself first.
“I remember one year, we performed the musical Rent, and I played Tom Collins,” Garcia said. “The thing I’ll always hold dear was all the love put into that theatre for that show…I’ve never cried so much until that performance. It was all about living in the moment.”
DeLeon said she and other students who’ve worked with Frank all feel the same after being in a production with him.
“Nothing but positive vibes,” said DeLeon. “Wherever he goes after graduation, I know he’ll do great things!”
Garcia said he didn’t get where he is now by doing nothing. Being an actor and college student came with its challenges–ones he had to work to overcome.
“My freshmen year I was shy and didn’t really throw myself out there. My sophomore year, I had so much energy and was getting involved with anything I could get my hands on,” Garcia said. “My junior year, the pressure of what I was going to do after college was taking a toll on me, and by my senior fall semester, I was exhausted.”
Garcia said his dancing instructor had told him that he needed to stop trying to be good at everything and that it was okay to be great at a few things. His final semester, he learned to take one day at a time, to slow down and breathe again.
“If I could go back in time and give my freshmen-year-self advice, I’d tell him to not be afraid of getting out there and to love himself,” Garcia said.