Nine weeks of collaboration between Flagler Palm Coast High School theater student Gerald Kitt and Valerie Sanson’s sixth-grade drama class at Wadsworth Elementary School took the stage for two performances of “Cinderella” Monday and Tuesday.
The partnership was part of the school’s STEAM flagship, which aims to introduce students to science, technology, engineering, art and math with the goal of developing the whole child. Principal John Fanelli said that by giving students the opportunity to experience various electives in elementary school, it prepares them for class selection in higher grade levels.
“They will have first-hand knowledge of what they like,” he said.
Sanson’s theater class is doing just that by introducing them to the art of acting.
“Sometimes we seem to lose what the value is, but we are fortunate here in Flagler that with flagship emphasis is helping to rebuild the arts,” Sanson said. “When I started teaching 25 years ago, we had four productions a year, and I’m thrilled to work with this group of youth now.”
Sanson stressed the importance of theater in schools with a statement in the program reading, “There are many benefits of a dramatic theatre education to include increasing a child’s perception of their world, a heightened self-understanding, broader character traits, improved verbal and nonverbal communications, creativity, and interdisciplinary learning while interfacing diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
As student producer and director, Kitt said the collaboration allowed him to grow throughout the process.
“I learned tolerance,” he said. “Seeing the kids grow throughout the performance, I see myself in them.”
But the collaboration did not stop with Kitt. FPC students Trevor Dunham and Christina Goodin also assisted with technical aspects of the show. Costumes were rented from Ann Paris and the Buddy Taylor Middle School drama program and altered by Janet Powell. And Wadsworth art teacher Lizzie Campanella and her art students created Cinderella’s carriage.