By Angela Higginbotham
At Bartram Springs Elementary School, the faculty works tirelessly to inspire students to achieve both personal and academic success. Serving approximately 960 diverse students, the A-rated school is known for academic excellence, dynamic teachers and extracurricular activities. The musical theatre program at Bartram Springs has became a standout opportunity offered for students to shine.
“As an Academy of Academic Enrichment, the musical theatre program at Bartram Springs Elementary is the perfect opportunity for our students to learn how to express themselves, demonstrate creativity and showcase their many talents. We are very fortunate to have a talented group of teachers at Bartram Springs,” Principal Kim Wright said.
Kindergarten teacher Karly Hirst has linked her passion for theatre with her love for teaching students to form an exciting and well-rounded musical theatre program for the school. Originally from Washington, D.C., Hirst started theatre performances at the age of three and grew up involved in middle and high school theatre programs. Three other teachers join Hirst in bringing this program to life at Bartram Springs Elementary.
“Seeing the students really grow throughout the process is probably the most rewarding part of it all. The ones that seem shy and then come into auditions and blow us away; it’s amazing to see these kids find their niche,” Hirst said.
Disney-themed shows are typically the most popular. “Seussical,” “Annie Jr.” and the current production of “Peter Pan Jr.” have all been huge successes for participation.
“We’ve been shocked at the level of interest and support that we’ve received since starting the program,” Hirst said.
Finding the resources to grow the program have proved to be the greatest challenge; however, the program continues to thrive.
“I love musical theatre because I get to sing and it’s so much fun to be on the stage,” third grader Kate Higginbotham said.
Kindergarten and first graders practice after school once per week for three months, until the show date in April. Second through fifth graders perform a more involved screenplay and spend time practicing twice a week. A total of 126 students are given the opportunity to perform on stage.
“I get to sing, dance and perform….some of my favorite things,” third grader Nori Alexander said.
The sets are built by parent volunteers. Photography, makeup and costume help is provided by faculty or family volunteers. The Accelerated Art club at Bartram Springs will also be providing help with the set of the “Peter Pan Jr.” performance.
“This is such a fun thing that we are able to provide for the kids to do at school, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Hirst said.
“Peter Pan Jr.” musical theatre performances will be held at the school April 6 – 8, 2017.
Photo courtesy Georgia Road Photography
Bartram Springs Elementary students rehearse for “Annie Jr.”