Alumna and "High School Musical" Star Visits Students

Students from first grade through twelfth welcomed home "High School Musical" star Monique Coleman on September 20. Three special assemblies were held so students could hear firsthand the actress's message and advice.

"It's so important that you recognize your dreams," Coleman told Lower School students before leading them in dancing to the "High School Musical" theme. "Don't let anyone or anything stand in your way."

An Orangeburg native, Coleman began her acting career in theater and television at an early age. After graduating from Heathwood Hall, she obtained a bachelor's degree in fine arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Her credits include "Voices From Within," a one-woman show she also wrote and directed, and the Family Channel movie, "The Ditchdigger's Daughter." She was a season three contestant on "Dancing With the Stars," in which she placed fourth. But she is known best for her role as Taylor McKessie in "High School Musical."

"I really liked playing Taylor because she was the smartest girl in school," Coleman told Intermediate/Middle School students.

A commemorative slide show rotated behind Coleman as she addressed students in the Belser Auditorium. She shared her latest project, GimmeMo, an online talk show dedicated to empowering today's youth. Coleman created the program and serves as its executive producer.

Addressing the Upper School students, Coleman recalled some of her favorite Heathwood Hall memories, including building homecoming floats and performing in school productions such as "My Fair Lady."

"This is the best possible experience for me because this is my school. This is my home."