Winter Park Christian High School uses stage as classroom for history, literature
March 3, 2009
Classic literature and history come to life as students from Winter Park Christian High School perform “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.
The only private school at the time, WPCHS was established in September 2005. Its mission: to give a Christian-based option to families and their school children.
“We wanted to give students a rigorous academic education with a Biblical world view,” said Cathy Nutting, academic administrator.
Now 38 students strong, grades one through 12 are taught a wide variety of subjects. One of the main goals, Nutting said, is to have them be able to articulate verbally, as well as in written form. Through debate, and especially the drama program, they are able to express their beliefs and the basis behind them.
“Drama is a huge benefit toward learning those skills,” she said.
The school’s humanities program follows a chronological four-year cycle through history, said Stephanie Miller, humanities teacher and drama director. Students begin by studying antiquity, then Christendom, American culture and modernity.
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Right now, they are looking into history from the 1800s and early 1900s, which coincides with Alcott’s work perfectly, Nutting said.
Each year, students put together a big project and the play is this year’s feature. Mimi Kaplysh, former TV and commercial star from the area, presented them with a seminar on basic acting.
“Little Women” is a great play for beginners, Nutting said, because the students are already familiar with the story. “It’s a classic by all accounts.”
There are eight students attending grades 9-12 at WPCHS and all of them are in the upcoming theater performance.
“They’re doing an amazing job,” Miller said.
With more “little women” than young men in the group, the cast list was also a good fit. The March ladies are portrayed by Katelyn Swope (Josephine), Sarah Beckerle (Meg), Danielle Palmer (Beth), and Olivia Miller (Amy). Caleb Eatough plays Theodore Lawrence, Elise Matson plays Marmee, Seth Toller is John Brooke, Dani Usten is Hannah, Michelle Palmer is Aunt March, and Chad Warren plays the father.
The performance will be the final drama production in the school for seniors Beckerle and Palmer. Students in grade 8 will be providing technical assistance (sets, props, and changing of scenes).
Students plan to present several scenes from the play for Cliffview Assisted Living on March 17.