The drama club returned to rehearse at Jonathan Law High School Monday afternoon for the first time since the murder of Maren Sanchez inside the school Friday morning.
"We thought long and hard about canceling," said the school's drama director, Michael Mele. "We spoke to the kids about it. They want to do it for her."
Students will perform the musical "Little Shop of Horrors," which opens Friday. Sanchez had a key role, operating the pivotal puppet, Audrey II.
"Maren tried it one day and she just naturally had the moves. It fit her; she was really good at it," Mele said. "She worked really hard to get better and make it her own thing."
He decided no other student could take over the part after the tragedy, so he is welcoming the help of a professional puppeteer, just part of the overwhelming support the club has been offered from the local dramatic community.
He spoke near a rock in front of the school that's been painted purple in tribute to Maren Sanchez.
"Maren was a great kid. She's just what I would consider the epitome of a good student and a good kid, very respectful and well-liked," said Mele. "She had an infectious smile. You wanted to be around her."
Classes at Jonathan Law were canceled today but will resume tomorrow. A vigil for Sanchez is slated for tonight.