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Sixth graders suit up for ‘The Lion King’

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Sixth graders William Degonda and Noah Testa rehearse after school.

For many Marine Elementary students, the sixth grade play is a time honored tradition. Students look forward to it over their entire career at the school, and once they reach the second semester of their sixth grade year they finally get to experience it. This year is a special year for the Marine students, as it is the last sixth grade play.

During the 2017-18, sixth graders will be attending the junior high for the first time in this district. The first play was put on in 1972, and it was “Oliver”. Over the decades, the other plays have included “The Wizard of Oz” and “Willy Wonka”.

This year’s play is going to be “The Lion King”. The process of putting on the play is an extensive one.  Beginning in early Apri the students find out what the play is going to be. They then have to audition and wait for the roles to be assigned. This year, the 24 students will all share lead roles, meaning they will switch roles part way through the show.

Sixth grader Vivian Haskins plays Saribi. “I’m the queen of the pride lands and mother of Simba,” Haskins said.

Sixth grade teacher Abby Brown has been directing the play since 1998. Her first show was the “Charlie Brown”, and since then she has done a new show every year. She is in charge of most of the show, but parents also help with costumes, make up and set design. Overall however, Brown leads the play and is ultimately the person in charge of the production.

[My favorite part] each year is watching the process, watching kinds evolve in their confidence, and being able to send them off with stronger skills.”

— Abby Brown

“[My favorite part] each year is watching the process, watching kinds evolve in their confidence, and being able to send them off with stronger skills,” Brown said.

The first month of the show focuses on the students learning their lines and their parts in and out. After this, they have rehearsals at the town hall where they practice their lines on the stage and get comfortable with the venue. The fifth grade students are the chorus, so they come to some rehearsals in order to practice the songs with the students. The students will be practicing very hard in order to put in the best show possible for the schools final performance.

Former Marine student and junior Isaac Krahn remembers his role in his play “Willy Wonka Jr”. “I was Grandpa Joe and I had a lot of lines and solos, so I was pretty scared at first,” he said. “I was afraid I was not going to remember the lines or the lyrics to songs.”

The 2016-17 sixth graders of Marine Elementary are overall very excited to be part of the final show. It is obvious that they are excited, yet still working hard to make this show the best show that the school has ever put on. No matter what, with this amount of enthusiasm the show is bound to be great, especially since the students are putting 110 percent into the production.

“I feel honored to have a chance to do the play,” said sixth grader Lizzy Smitten. “[I also feel] sad because it’s the last one and [the play] is a good opportunity for students.”

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Sixth graders suit up for ‘The Lion King’”

  1. Ebbie Benson on May 7th, 2017 6:39 pm

    Very informative article and strong quotes. Using quotes from former and current Marine students who performed in the 6th grade play shows the role it has in the community and the longstanding tradition. Something that would add to the story, would be mentioning the history of the 6th grade play and what it means for it to be the last one.

    [Reply]

  2. Anna Koenning on May 7th, 2017 8:43 pm

    This is a really good article! I like the attractive headline as well as the informative quotations from former and past Marine students. It’s sad that this is the final play for Marine sixth graders, but you did a really good job writing about all aspects of the performance.

    [Reply]

  3. Megan Ramberg on May 7th, 2017 11:30 pm

    This article is very informative to a subject that not a lot of people know about; as the Marine play is mostly known by locals. This article gives a chance for more people to learn about the emotional ties/connections the play has to Marine residents, and the importance of the production altogether. I love the approach you used for the structure of the article, such as using direct quotes from former students in the play.

    [Reply]

  4. Payton A Filipiak on May 8th, 2017 9:26 pm

    I enjoy how informative and in depth this article is. By using quotes from a former Marine student, the article captured how long this tradition has carried on and how important it is to the students. The article has many different views of the play and yet it was put together seamlessly. Overall, a wonderful article!

    [Reply]

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Sixth graders suit up for ‘The Lion King’