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home : community : community Wednesday, August 23, 2017

12/15/2010 Email this articlePrint this article 
College Prep Elementary Performs at University of St. Thomas

By Amy Doeun

Hmong and Karen students in the College Prep Elementary 6th grade class had a unique opportunity to explore the world of theater arts. They partnered with University of St. Thomas Drama and Poetry English class to "produce, direct and star in 'Stone Heart'." The play was written by local playwright Diane Glancy, a Native American woman playwright, and revolves around the experiences of "a minority woman, Sacagawea a Shoshone, who became the true hero of the Lewis and Clark expedition" which paved the way for western expansion in the early 1800s.

HMONG TIMES spoke with Michael Raimondi of College Prep about how and why the play was selected he shares several reasons, "The play helped fulfill a State of Minnesota Social Studies curriculum requirement for elementary sixth grade students; and, the play's major theme, according to the author, was about giving voice to those who have no voice in society; in this case, Sacagawea, a Native American woman, and York, the African American slave on the journey. It was amazing watching Hmong children playing the roles of Lewis, Clark, York and Sacagawea."

Twenty Four of the 6th graders joined 21 University of St. Thomas students. "Students practiced on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:00 for four weeks before the play. There was only one dress rehearsal on December 7."

Students performed for family, friends and community members on Thursday, December 9.

Raimondi added that, "For all of the Sixth Grade students from College Prep Elementary it was the first time they performed in front of a live audience. They were very excited! All 24 CPE students worked on the play doing acting, make-up, lighting, costume, choreography, sound, music and props."

Laula Vang, CPE Title One Professional, speaking about the play, remarks: "The play gave the students the courage to speak in front of a large crowd, where often Hmong students are often in the background."

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