All the world’s a stage — and at Conant High School , students and teachers are working to make that stage a more inclusive place.
This month, the high school’s drama club will present the musical “Damn Yankees,” the story of a baseball fanatic who sells his soul to the devil for a chance to lead his favorite team to a win against the New York Yankees.
It’s the ninth musical the club has put on since 2013, according to social studies teacher David Dustin, who leads the club. One of the program’s strengths is that it welcomes students of all backgrounds and abilities, Dustin says.
“We’re inclusive from the get-go because we have no sort of entry requirements to be in our drama program. We do an audition process to assign parts, but anybody who wants to be in the show will have a part somewhere in the show,” he said. “We don’t collect any sort of fees or dues; our club is entirely self-funded.”
No student is kept from participating by an inability to pay.
“I think it’s really cool to see that in action because you do go to some theater programs or you go to some athletic programs or things like that and there are some barriers that seemingly can’t be overcome,” he said. “But we have found ways to overcome every barrier, and we’re really proud of that.”
For example, the drama program works with students who may have physical or cognitive limitations to find a role in the production that is tailored to their strengths.
“In musicals in particular, there’s a lot of dance numbers and a lot of movement numbers that for some students could be restrictive for their participation, but we find ways to work through that,” Dustin said. “So all of our dance numbers are inclusive for any need that a student may have.”
This year, the program has even invited some teachers and Conant alumni to participate, making the production generationally inclusive as well, Dustin said.
It supports a philosophy of inclusivity that is being emphasized in Jaffrey-Rindge, he said.
“To our school district’s credit, we’ve been working really hard to make sure that that does become the norm for us. We’ve got some unified sports teams that have started to form, and like I said, our philosophy on learning has been expanding to become more personalized and able to reach the needs of all learners,” he said.
There will be two performances of “Damn Yankees,” on Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, at 7 p.m. in Conant High School’s Pratt Auditorium. Tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for students. To purchase a ticket, contact David Dustin at email@example.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.
Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School has received $1,000 from the Rindge location of Hannaford supermarket through the Hannaford Helps Schools program. The middle school received the $1,000 “bonus” for raising the most amount of money of the schools participating in the program through that Hannaford location, according to the Hannaford Helps Schools website.
The Jaffrey-Rindge community earned dollars for the school by purchasing participating products at the Hannaford store and turning in their “dollar coupons” in the middle school’s name. In total, the school raised $1,407.
According to Assistant Principal Lisa Wilkinson, the money will be used for end-of-year activities and events like assemblies and guest speakers.
Mandy Fraser, career counselor at the Cheshire Career Center in Keene, has been nominated for the Community College System of New Hampshire‘s Running Start Champion Award. The award recognizes individuals who have helped bring college courses to New Hampshire high school students by working with CCSNH colleges.
During the 2015-16 school year, 220 college credits were awarded through Cheshire Career Center classes, according to N.H. School Administrative Unit 29. The following year, the number of credits more than doubled, with 521 college credits awarded through the Cheshire Career Center.
Students at Jaffrey Grade School raised $1,860.45 to install a new water-filling station at the school, which will reduce plastic use, limit the spread of germs and save time. The money was raised through a Funds for Fountains coin collection drive organized by the student council, in which each student was sent home with a milk carton to fill with coins.
To celebrate the school surpassing its $1,000 goal, Principal Susan Shaw-Sarles agreed to be “slimed” in front of the entire school. Last month students gathered in the school gymnasium to watch and cheer as Sarles was covered in green goop.