Student spotlight: Molly Ray

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Molly Ray attends many Leesville events, like football games, to take photos for the yearbook. She captures the spirit of the Pride for the Student Life section. (Photo used by permission of Molly Ray)

Let me introduce you to Leesville’s nicest Mean Girl: Molly Ray. 

Molly Ray is a senior at Leesville who is very involved in the school. She is on the swim team, she is editor-in-chief of the yearbook, and she plays Regina George in the upcoming musical, “Mean Girls.” 

In the Theater

I have known Molly Ray since I was five, and she was seven. She is my next door neighbor, and I watched her passion for theater arts develop over many years. As little kids, we played make-believe games, pretending to be superheroes or warriors. We played for hours with American Girl Dolls, acting out elaborate stories with drama worthy of a soap opera.

Ray started acting when she was eight years old and in the play 101 Dalmations. She was in various shows throughout middle school, and I remember most notably when she was in “Willy Wonka Jr.” She was in her middle school’s performance, and I was in my elementary school’s performance of the same show. We rehearsed together and shared our expectations and nerves about the show. Even from the age of 11, her love of performing was obvious, and she had a natural talent for becoming her character. 

Ray prepares for a role by breaking down the character. “It’s fun to play around with characters. You can make your character have specific quirks that maybe other people wouldn’t think of… like how they walk, talk, or stand,” said Ray. 

Ray also participated in several programs to improve her abilities. She took acting and singing classes at the pre-professional department at NC Theater for several years. 

Most recently, Ray took voice lessons to prepare for her audition for Regina George. She has been going to the same voice teacher for six years, and when auditions for Mean Girls rolled around, she attended several lessons back to back. “[I learned] not only how to sing the songs… but also how to sound like Regina… acting through my singing and how to present myself,” said Ray.

Ray puts a lot of effort into her performances and it is always noticeable. 

Kate Migielicz, senior, has known Ray since kindergarten. “I’ve gone to every single one of her plays and they are always really good. She’s an amazing actor and she’s also an amazing singer,” said Migielicz. 

Ray is going to miss being in the Leesville theater program, but she has advice for younger students aspiring to be involved in shows.

“Don’t give up… It’s really easy in acting to try once and give it your all and then be disappointed by the outcome, but it’s best to just keep chasing your goals and making progress. Auditions can be super stressful so it’s best to know that [the directors] are here to see you and there’s always going to be more opportunities in the future,” said Ray.

Outside the Theater

Ray is involved in theater, but she also participates in many other activities. She swam for 12 years and was on Leesville’s varsity swim team all four years of high school. Her hard working spirit shone through when it came to the swim team. She swam year-round, sometimes waking up as early as 4:00 AM to go practice.

As little kids, many of our playdates ended with her quickly changing into a swimsuit to play for five extra minutes before she had to leave for the pool.

Ray has also been on the Leesville yearbook staff since her sophomore year. She is now the editor-in-chief of the student life section. 

Ms. Tabron, Leesville yearbook teacher, said, over email, “I chose Molly to be an editor-in-chief because she is knowledgeable and full of great ideas. She is a self-starter, and she actively anticipates the needs of the staff, making sure that she checks in with everyone. She greatly motivates her peers with her novel ideas and upbeat personality.”

Ray’s kindness and motivation will suit her well in her future career. She plans to be a pediatrician and is considering going to East Carolina University’s Honors College. 

“Through ECU Honors College, I could get a lot of great opportunities working with professors… I could get great research experience with them… and ECU has a great medical school,” said Ray. “I’m excited for new opportunities, classes, campus life, meeting new people, and starting my medical journey.”

Molly Ray is an actor, singer, swimmer, and many other things, but most of all, she is a great friend. She drives me to school every morning and always has encouraging words about tests I have or about how the week is almost over. 

Emma Julian, senior, met Molly in yearbook class during their junior year. “Molly is super bubbly and fun. She’s the sweetest person I’ve ever met and she might also be the funniest,” said Julian, over text.

Migielicz said, “[Molly is] really sweet and caring. She’s always fun and down to do anything. Whenever I want to hang out with somebody, she’s always there for me.”

Molly Ray has definitely made her mark on all aspects of Leesville Life and is sure to do the same in college and beyond.

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