Disabilities not a barrier at Alhambra High theater

ALHAMBRA, Calif. (KABC) -- Students with disabilities at the Alhambra High School theater program don't encounter barriers.

"I feel like this is the only part I feel safe," Genesis Mendoza, a theater student at Alhambra high school, said. "I was shut down a lot from a lot of teachers to not be in their club because of what I have."

There are students at Alhambra with different kinds disabilities.

"My name is Jerod," Jerod Adkins signed to his American Sign Language interpreter. "I am hard of hearing."

Adkins is part of the production crew in the theater program.

"I suffer from ADHD, anxiety, major depression and PTSD," Renee Ruiz-Hermosillo, said.

Hermosillo is an actress and a senior at the school.

"I have a hole in heart which causes a murmur," Mendoza said. "I could pass out or possibly die on it."

Whether the students are on stage taking on a role or part of the production crew behind the set, those with disabilities say they feel welcomed at the Alhambra high theater.

"They're part of the family and I have the same expectations of them as I do any of my other students," said Rachel Snow, who has been overseeing the theater program for the past four years at Alhambra.

Members of the audience would not notice any differences among the students.

"And that's a testament to their hard work and their teamwork," Snow said.

Out of all students who are part of the cast, 20 to 30 percent of them have a learning or physical disability.

"I'm proud of myself." Adkins signed. "Because I have a lot of friends."

Some students who are a part of theater are also in other school groups.

"I'm in other activities too, but here I just really feel like I'm at home," Ruiz-Hermosillo said.

Students with disabilities, like Mendoza and Adkins, have aides with them at all times to help them in school. But they feel their peers have played a big role in their success.

"I don't make me feel like something is holding me back," Mendoza said.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or donate can email: moorstheaterboosters@gmail.com or snow_rachel@ausd.us.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.