In the schools: Middle school full of ‘drama’ as students pick up ‘The Orphan Train’ |

In the schools: Middle school full of ‘drama’ as students pick up ‘The Orphan Train’

Frank Reeves
East Grand Schools superintendent
Students at Fraser Valley Elementary enjoy the newly installed “TeePee Forest,” which incorporates more natural features, on the school’s playground.
Courtesy EGSD

Happenings in East Grand Schools the week of Nov. 29.

• Mrs. Dubois-Miller’s Dance and Fitness PE class went down to Granby Elementary to teach all the K-2 PE classes. The high school students choreographed the dances. Positive role modeling and addressing physical education standards was the goal and much more was accomplished including relationship building, developing leadership skills and physical activity. It was an incredible learning and growing experience for both the “big kids” and the “little kids.”

• Last week fourth-graders had SOLE come into their classrooms to learn about animal adaptations.

• On Nov. 16th, the Middle Park High School cheerleading team competed for the first time at the Frontier League Competition. They placed fifth in a brand new division called “game day.” The team impressed many with their sportsmanship and drive to learn more about the sport, and they were happy to see Middle Park represented. The team is now preparing for the state competition. Part of their state score is crowd participation, so please come support them Dec. 5 at the Denver Coliseum. Go Panthers!

• Preschoolers at FVE are enjoying their newly installed “Tee Pee Forest” on the playground. The new feature is part of an overall design plan to incorporate more natural features on the playground. It is shown that when playgrounds for young children include components such as trees, shrubs, logs and rocks, their critical thinking, problem solving and cooperative play skills increase, therefore decreasing challenging behavior and improving school readiness. The preschool program would like to thank the Grand Foundation, Mountain Parks Electric, Conroy Excavating, Adrian Jesaitis, and especially Steve Valenti and crew for their contribution to this project.

• This past week, several members of the Entrepreneurship Club spent part of their Friday afternoon with Austin Gray and Jayson Harris of Green Spaces, a co-working business. These local entrepreneurs shared ideas and perspectives on how to find a need and fulfill that need in a community. The students asked questions about the origins of co-working, the development of a business plan, and the idea of monthly reoccurring revenue. As the students build a mobile coffee shop for the school, this opportunity gave them an idea how to start their business. There was even some discussion of creating a partnership between the Peak coffee shop and the club.

This was just the first networking opportunity for students in the club. Over the course of the year, students will visit three different local entrepreneurs in the community. If you are a local entrepreneur who wants to provide guidance to the club, please contact the school sponsor Ryan Wilson at

• Granby Elementary recently held its second grade Barn Dance. Here is a conversation one student had with Ms. Veraldo.

Student: “I’ve been practicing my two hand turn. Are you proud of me?”

Ms. Veraldo: “Yes. Who have you been practicing with?”

Student: “Myself. I was going to practice with my little brother, but he’s younger than me!!”

• The Drama Club at East Grand Middle School is picking up steam for “The Orphan Train.” From 4:30-6 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday, students learn acting and voice and movement exercises. This prepares children to take on “The Orphan Train,” a poignant and humorous historical interpretation of when orphans were put on trains and taken across the Midwest for adoption. Auditions are Dec. 9 and Dec. 11 during typical rehearsal time — students can sign up for an audition slot during club.

The new Drama Club sponsor, Lindsey Hand, is excited to use her years as an actor and theatre performance major to inspire a love of the stage. Hand is also the full-time substitute at Middle Park High School, having previously taught English 9, English 10, Holocaust Literature, and Creative Writing in Nebraska. Some of Hand’s other experiences include managing and artistic director of a theatre collective, representing Nebraska at the National Poetry Slam, three state one-act championships and acting awards, as well as direction under a Tony-nominated actor.

Hand and students are preparing for their spring play with anticipation. The production leaves the station at 7 p.m. March 19.

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