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On Monday, October 9th, several of our English students had the privilege of watching a powerful performance of Stand, a new play by Jim Reyland that brings a new perspective to homelessness. Stand has only two characters: Mark, a salesman, and Johnny, a homeless man struggling from years of drug addiction. It is a true story based on Reyland’s relationship with John Robert Ellis, a homeless man he befriended and tried to help for nearly a decade before Ellis was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2011.
The show is part of TPAC’s Humanities Outreach in Tennessee and ticket sales benefit Room in the Inn, a Tennessee organization that offers emergency services, transitional programs, and long-term solutions to help people rebuild their lives. The Founding Director of Room in the Inn, Charles Strobel, was in attendance and spoke to our students after the performance and answered their questions. Here’s what some of our students had to say about how they were impacted by Stand.
The thing about the play that was so impactful to me was the realistic portrayal of recovery, showing how it’s more of a two steps forward one step backwards kind of process rather than a straight line constantly going upwards. I liked how the two characters helped each other equally, and the relationship they shared. – Jolie Harper
I like that the man [Mark] stepped out of his normal routine and helped the homeless man. I learned that sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and help others. – Hampton Taron
It was super eye-opening as to how we should treat others no matter the circumstances they are in. - Anna Jones
I thought the play was very deep on how you may think you are better than homeless people, but you are really just the same but with more money. And other people who may be homeless don't always have the childhood and conditions it takes to be successful, and they end up that way, all by things they can't control. - Hope McWright
I learned that homelessness isn't easy to get out of. It is not necessarily about being lazy, but about falling into a cycle of hopelessness. Homeless people aren't treated with the same respect as other people are and that was really impactful to me. –Annmarie Alexander
I found the fact that the man took a lot of time to befriend and take care of the homeless man very impactful. I see homeless people people all the time, but this man had the courage to help him on a personal level. – Riley Griffin
Addiction is a serious thing, and its not easy to walk away from as people may think. Also, homelessness is a serious thing that many people ignore, but there are those who recognize it like Mark did. What we don’t realize is that the homeless can help us too. They give us a whole different view of life. – Ben Simpson
The act of helping someone is where the real worth is, not whether or not they've recovered. It's a 'journey is more important than the destination' type situation. – Nate Lewis
This was my second time seeing Stand as I first saw the play on a drama field trip freshman year. I believe that this time I put more thought into the idea that it may not have been Jonny's fault for the situation he was in. I took away that some people may have genetic traits that simply make them more likely to become addicted to substances and that substance abuse may be less of a choice and more of a trap people fall into. – Dominic Stephens
Charles Strobel encouraged students that the best way they can help right now is to support the larger systems which are already in place and change the conversation about the homeless. Room in the Inn currently has 190 congregations in Middle Tennessee that provide food and shelter, a downtown campus, and over 6,500 volunteers. To learn more about how you can help Room in the Inn, go to roomintheinn.org.
Earlier this week on the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” the creator of Qball got three sharks to invest in his innovative classroom invention, but Mrs. Greenlee’s 4th grade class has already been enjoying their Qball since August!
Qball is a soft, ball-shaped, wireless microphone that can be connected to any sound system to make communicating in the classroom simple and fun.
Students and teachers simply toss the Qball to each other and speak into it to allow everyone to hear clearly and engage in classroom discussion. Mrs. Greenlee’s class uses it for discussion, review, and overall instruction, and she loves that it allows movement to engage kinesthetic learners and amplifies sound for auditory learners.
“I love that I have yet ANOTHER reason to do something non-traditional in my classroom! Having the Qball allows me to engage those otherwise “quiet” students, but also meet the needs of those that need to move while they learn,” said Mrs. Greenlee.
Though it was originally designed for the classroom, the sharks are hoping to apply the Qball to corporate settings as well.
Teachers at Nashville Christian are always looking for new ways to teach students at all learning levels and to create an atmosphere where learning is fun! Click below to see Mrs. Greenlee’s class using Qball to practice multiplication tables.
Building gumdrop bridges was the highlight of the week for 3rd grade. The challenge presented to each group was to build a bridge using only 50 gumdrops and 100 toothpicks that would hold 300 grams (120 pennies) of mass without falling through the six-inch gap it had to span.
Designing, building, testing and rebuilding with a peer group chosen by the teacher was also part of the challenge as I, the teacher, had the intention of the students building relationships with those outside their normal peer group.
We tested our bridges first over the gap. Then we added 50 pennies on a paper plate for 20 seconds. All five bridges were able to make it through the first round. The next round of testing was 100 pennies for up to 20 seconds. All the bridges held the 100 pennies, but two of the bridges lasted less than 5 seconds with that weight. For the final round, we added the extra 20 pennies to make the mass 300 grams. Clearly this mass was too much for one of our designs. It crumbled under the pressure. Of the two remaining bridges, the obvious winning design was able to hold the mass for one minute and could have lasted longer, but that was long enough to prove its strength and win the challenge!
Making group posters to document the process is on our agenda for this week.
This past weekend, NCS elementary, middle and high school fine arts students performed in the One Act Weekend featuring Alice in Wonderland Jr. and Schoolhouse Rock Live! The middle school performance of Alice in Wonderland Jr. was directed by one of our very own students, junior Anna Jones.
Anna has performed in many shows at NCS, including Lion King Jr.(Rafiki), Into the Woods(Little Red), Guys and Dolls(General Cartwright), and James and the Giant Peach Jr.(Earthworm). This was her first time acting as student director of an NCS performance. We recently interviewed Anna about the experience and here is what she had to say.
Why did you decide to take the role of director for Alice in Wonderland Jr.?
I have always wanted to be in the staged version of Alice in Wonderland and when I heard the middle school was doing it, I knew that I have to be involved somehow. I applied for a position on the team by writing an essay, and here we are.
How is directing different from acting in a show?
It is completely different from acting. Directing is super hard. There are so many things that the director has to do that I didn’t even expect. I have learned so much from directing this show that will actually help in acting.
What has been your biggest challenge in directing this show?
Probably being able to communicate my vision for the show to little kids. When you are imagining something for a scene and you want it done, it becomes challenging trying to get kids to do it right.
You are directing students from elementary and middle school. Tell me about your experience with the cast.
It has been amazing. They all have so much energy that has been fun channeling into their passion for theater. The middle schoolers have been such good influences on the elementary students as well.
What should audiences know about this show before coming to see it?
That I just wanted the kids to have fun during this show. Above anything else, I wanted this to be a fun and positive environment for these kids.
Is there an underlying message or thought you want audiences to take away from this show?
The big question in this show is “whooo areee youuuu?” Alice goes through wonderland and changes a lot and however much she changes, she always finds out that somebody doesn't like her, and she doesn't quite fit in. Through the show she learns who she is. I want audiences to think about that question throughout the show and find out what it means to them.
What are your hopes for the future of NCS theater?
I really hope that we keep growing and blossoming like we have these past two years. I really want people to keep joining the theater program and experiencing what's it like to be in the middle of it.
If you missed the performance, you can watch it here!