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Humor Goes to Middle School

HEARTACHE: Hiba Hariri, 14, balances play rehearsals with growing pains. (Bryan Chan / LAT)
CRITICAL APPROVAL: Jill Welker entertains members of her journalism class at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. As her school paper’s reviewer of “The Good, the Bad and the Detained,” she told teacher Stephen James, one of the playwrights, that she liked the preview scenes. Even so, he and the actors were worried. (Bryan Chan / LAT)
IT’S A BOY THING: As students gather for a rehearsal just days before the play is to be performed, boys try to stuff a friend headfirst into a trash can behind the school’s stage. The victim was able to free himself, but Hiba was not amused. (Bryan Chan / LAT)
THE SECRET ADMIRER: At one of their favorite hangouts, Jill breaks the truth to Sean Guerrero about the girl in blue. (Bryan Chan / LAT)
‘I’M HEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRE’: As Muy Tarde, Hiba grows strong in her leading role in the student play. (Bryan Chan / LAT)
A NEW COUPLE: Sean and Angel Monroe, who had told Sean that he deserved better after Hiba’s prank, hold hands during a lunch period at school. After her initial pain, Hiba has moved on. (Bryan Chan / LAT)