Three generations star in Highland Park High School musical productions
Tradition, one of the cornerstones of Highland Park High School, plays out in the Meece family with a legacy of roles in the performing arts.
Lyla and McKinley Meece represent the third generation of girls from their family to grace the Linda Raya Stage. The sisters appeared in the school’s recent production of Legally Blonde, with Lyla in the lead role of Elle Woods.
Since her first lead role as Annie, performing arts called to Lyla the same way it called to her mom, Ashley, and her grandmother.
“Music has been passed down in our family for generations,” Ashley said, recounting impromptu family skits and shows that brought her household to life as a child and again as a mother.
During her years in the halls of Highland Park, Ashley participated in drama with Linda Raya as her teacher, represented the school as a cheerleader, and performed in her senior musical, Grease.
Although Ashley certainly carries the spirit of the stage with her, she says that her daughters truly take after their grandmother, Mary Glen Joy, who they affectionately call MG.
Music has been passed down in our family for generations.Ashley Meece
Lyla and McKinley, like their grandmother, are members of Lads & Lassies, the Highland Park choir, and can be found in the spotlight during every musical.
“Every time I see them on stage, I think, ‘They are following my mother,’” Ashley said.
However, it was by coincidence or fate, not expectation, that Lyla ended up on stage.
“When I started doing the musicals at school, I had no idea that MG was in all of the productions,” she said.
Although Lyla certainly carries the legacy of generations before her, she is also forging her distinct path through the world of performing arts.
“My favorite thing is seeing the passion spark in younger kids,” she said, explaining her recent work with nonprofit Brother Bill’s Helping Hand. Over the summer, she and McKinley created and ran a theater class for children in need, an experience so meaningful that Lyla still tears up about it.
Regardless of whether Lyla ends up in the classroom, the studio, on the stage, or somewhere else, she has undoubtedly left her mark on Highland Park High and the greater community.
And when she graduates this year, she will be passing that legacy to her sister’s capable hands.