Author Stephen King once said: “What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
For Russell Aguirre, who is majoring in both English and Theatre, the hard work never stops. Being a member of Alpha Psi Omega (APO) for almost two years since his sophomore year on campus, Aguirre earned his position as Secretary on the APO lineup because he said he has always had a knack for organization and writing skills. Aguirre immediately knew why he would want to join the theatre society in the first place.
“It’s a very dedicated organization as a whole, which is why I think I fit in pretty well as both an officer and when I started out as a member because I always wanted to do more,” Aguirre said. “The people involved are some of my closest friends and we just have so much fun from time to time.”
All the way from Pharr, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, Aguirre said he began theatre when he was only nine years old, working in theatre workshops and performing in little children’s shows the Parks and Recreation Center had included in a summer program. Enrolled at PSJA North High School, Aguirre said he made his first real theatre debut that sparked his love for the stage.
“My very first show was Wizard of Oz, but the show that made me realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life was my sophomore year in high school when we did a production of Aladdin and I played Iago,” Aguirre said. “I got a little puppet and I got to do a stupid voice for two hours, but it was just so much fun for me that I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life.”
Later Aguirre received a call from Professor Kelly Russell, who encour- aged him to see the production of “Water by the Spoonful” they were featuring that week. Aguirre attended the show, and to watch fate work its magic, the director of “Water by the Spoonful” was professor Alison Frost, who later casted Aguirre in his first main stage play, “Titus Andronicus.”
For those who don’t know what the APO’s whole message is, Aguirre explained what the organization is.
“We are a theatre honor society,” Aguirre said. “It’s not really a fraternity as some people might call it. We’re very based on giving back to the community, especially this year. Our president, Cynthia Perry, said this was the first year that she really wanted to do charity-work give back to society through the department. We’ve even done hurricane Harvey relief back in September, we’ve helped around campus with whatever organizations need any help, or even if we’re not signed onto a crew for shows, we could always still lend a helping hand if needed.”
While giving a description about APO, Aguirre immediately listed its benefits.
“It’s a great way of forming connec- tions, especially people who want to become teachers later in life,“ Aguirre said. “You can form connections with other people and sort of be like, ‘Hey! I’m from this chapter,’ and so on and so on. But I can’t stress enough how much APO has been a really great team process. Learning about teamwork, especially for me, whether if it’s putting together a show in the 24-hour play festival and you have to learn to collaborate with the people in a short time period…we pride ourselves in being professional people who try really hard and make sure nothing too out of hand happens.”
After the mention of some of the hard work has put into the theatre department and into the APO society, Aguirre was quick to defend his APO family.
“It is all a team effort, really,” Aguirre said. “Like, it’s definitely not just one person. All the officers are very dedicated people like right now, Sierra Priest and Haley Davis are really working hard after the whole Easter egg hunt that we do every year; they really put their heart into that. We also had our 24-hour play festival where many of our members in our theatre department worked really hard to make it a success, and there were fantastic and brilliant plays to come out of it.”