MHS Senior Becomes First Ever Teen Casted in “Listen To Your Mother”


Media by Caren Libby

Teja Guduri, senior, prepares to deliver her speech at The Grandel during cast rehearsal the day before the show.

Stories about motherhood now have a platform in the annual Listen To Your Mother event in which an MHS student and teacher are participating. 

Director and producer for St. Louis Listen To Your Mother show, Laura Ray said the cast of the show is only about 12 people from more than a 100 submissions each year. 

Ray said she first read Teja Guduri’s, senior, story back in 2020 and was intrigued immediately.

“After eight years, several teens have tried out, but Teja was the only one picked. Her story is called ‘Mom You Were Right,’ and after reading the title I was sold because I knew it would bring laughter and resonate with others,” Ray said.

Rob Durham, language arts teacher, said it’s his second time speaking in the Listen To Your Mother event, and he wanted his students to get involved as well. 

Durham said he shares the essay he wrote for the show every year to his class and hopes to inspire other students to audition and share their story. Guduri took interest in it and wrote her own speech, he said.

“There aren’t many teenagers who submit, and some of them that do aren’t great writers, but Teja is both of those things,” Durham said.

Guduri’s story had the unique perspective of a teenage daughter talking about her mother because every other person in the show is either a female or an adult, Durham said.


“We’re kind of the minority as the male and teenager,” Durham said.

Guduri said after hearing Durham’s story she decided to create her own and try out for the show without any expectations. 

The story is about instances in which her mother has shaped her into the person she is today, Guduri said.

“When my mom hears the speech, I want her to see a different side of me that I don’t usually show her. I want to show her appreciation and gratitude,” Guduri said. 

Guduri said the story is lighthearted with a few serious moments, so she hopes to keep her audience laughing and smiling throughout. 

“I don’t know what I ultimately gain from this experience, but I know it’s something I will never get to do again,” Guduri said.

Creative writing has always been a hobby but nothing more, Guduri said. She said it was surprising to see it turn into something more: something truly big and meaningful.

Listen To Your Mother has taken place for eight years and the inspiration came in 2008 when founder Ann Imig started mom blogging.

Imig said she went to a conference called Blog Her and saw people reading their blogs to an audience. 

“I have a background in theater, a masters in social work and I had been writing, so all these parts of me were just lit up when I saw how moving it was, and how simple it was for people to share their blogs,” Imig said.

Wanting to read her writing to others, Imig put together her own event around Mother’s Day shortly after the conference. 

“Everyone has a connection to motherhood whether they grew up with a mother or not, so we try to bring in people of various backgrounds to achieve my main goal of building community around sharing stories,” Imig said.

Like Guduri and Durham, Ray said she aspires for a continuation of a unique array of people to try out.

“If you have an ovary, if you used to have an ovary or if you know someone with an ovary, you qualify. That’s everybody,” Ray said.