Farmersville High School

Larry Stone couldn't have begun high school any worse and couldn't have finished it any better.

Stone's freshman year at Farmersville High School was a rocky start. He was most likely to talk back to the teacher, get kicked out of class and then skip detention for any and all trouble he found.

His disciplinary problems were so bad that he was held back and had to repeat his freshman year.

The only class he was interested in was drama and the only teacher that saw potential was drama teacher Paula Johnson.

"Drama was like my home room, I was always there," Stone said.

Johnson started him off with small roles in school plays gradually building his confidence until he could handle more prominent roles. Stone said once on stage, he finally felt like he was important.

"That was the rush I was looking for," he said. "Nothing else really interested me."

For the next four years Stone took drama and wanted a part in every play. As a junior he was one of 30 students nationwide selected to participate in the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore. The two-week festival took high school juniors and placed them in classes with some of the drama teachers who taught them to analyze roles, research plays and study live shows twice each day. They also got one-on-one training with stage actors who helped them with monologues and approaches to different acting styles.

"Not many people my age get that kind of opportunity," he said.

Last summer Stones parents, James and Debbie, and his sisters, Stephanie and Sarah, to live near his grandfather in Yuma, Ariz. Stone decided to stay behind and finish his senior year at FHS while living with his great-grandmother, Maneva Johnston.

And he still had the support of his drama teacher.

"She is a perfect example of when people talk about a teacher becoming more than a teacher," he said. "She taught me that school can be like a second home. Without her, I don't know if I would even be graduating."

Recently, Stone was accepted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood. The school boats alumni such as Danny DeVito, Kirk Douglas, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Spencer Tracy and many more. "I had a dream and Mrs. Johnson made it a reality," he said.

Stone said he will work the summer in Yuma with his father and grandfather at their wrought iron welding business to save up money for the prestigious school. Stone said he is looking forward to someday starring in movies.

"I want to act in movies not to see my name in lights, but because it the most exciting career I can think of," he said.

"Watching movies is my kind of party. I work for cheap if it means being able to make it into a movie I can go see at the theater."

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