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Theatre Magic Links OWU to Local Elementary School

December 19, 2001

[ Woodward Elementary Class Photo ]DELAWARE, OHIO -- Two OWU seniors, both early childhood education majors, helped make a difference in the lives of several third- and fourth-graders at Woodward Elementary School in Delaware during fall semester.

Heather Strom, who also is a theatre minor, and Jenny Sammons constructed an independent study project under the guidance of OWU theatre professor Bonnie Milne Gardner. Their idea was to start an after-school drama program at Woodward, culminating in the production of a musical, The Incredible Westward Movement.

As Strom explains, during the first few weeks, the focus was on theatre skills and incorporation of dance and music activities. By the end of the third week, the group actually started working on Movement.

"There is no way this all could have happened had Jenny and I not worked together," says Strom. "We worked on the entire process together -- from planning lessons to teaching class to writing parent letters and painting the backdrop for the set."

"All of the teachers at Woodward said they loved seeing their kids perform," adds Sammons. "It was great for some of these students who struggle in school, to be able to succeed in this way."

The mission of the program, says Strom, was to provide a place for students to express their thoughts, feelings and ideas creatively and in a supportive, non-threatening environment.