On Thursday, October 10, the fourth grade students at Chocachatti Elementary School put on a play called “The Solar System Saga.” Family, friends and fellow students attended the 6:00 p.m. performance.
The play explained in a very clever way all about the parts of the solar system – from the planets and the sun to asteroids and comets. It was entertaining as well as educational. The play incorporated dance and music, including popular songs, such as “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and “Good Day, Sunshine.”
All the fourth graders (approximately 150 students) participated in some way – dancing, singing, narrating or being part of the stage crew. It was a joint effort of three departments – dance, headed by Ms. Rhonda Bowers; music, headed by Ms. Nancy Kraus and drama, headed by Ms. Irmarie Kraft.
Ms. Rhonda Bowers, who is in her seventeenth year of teaching dance at Chocachatti, stated, “The curriculum in fourth grade is a science curriculum and this show highlights all those benchmarks. Not only are they learning from being in the show, but the students who came to see the show learn about the different planets and the solar system.”
Every grade level at Chocachatti does a show each year, so by the time they leave to go on to middle school, the children are seasoned performers. The children need to speak clearly into the microphone, memorize their lines, their cues and the choreography. They also learn discipline and gain self-confidence. The students have been rehearsing since September working with the music, drama and dance teachers and their efforts paid off.
“The staff has high expectations of the students and, most of the time, the students meet those expectations,” Ms. Bowers remarked.
The children had various reasons why they enjoyed being part of the show.
Gaetana Russo, who played Ceres, a dwarf planet, stated, “My favorite part is acting, talking and being myself.”
Bryton Perry, who also played a dwarf planet (Eris), commented, “My favorite part was the lines. It was pretty easy to memorize my lines.”
Lily LeBron, who has been in ten plays and portrays Earth’s moon, remarked, “My favorite part is that during the show I get to eclipse the sun and it’s a lot of fun.”
Bree Germer, one of the dancers, commented, “It was hard sometimes because we learned one dance and then we had to go straight on to the next one. We had to learn four dances. We got good at the dances and we were prepared to be on stage.”
Jordynn Lotz, who takes dance lessons outside of school, stated, “I’ve been dancing for four years. My favorite part was getting to show what I learned and showing the talent that’s inside of me.”
Xavyer Velilla remarked, “I like to learn dance and I like how I’m the only boy in one of the dances.”
In the play each of the characters vied to see who was the most important. In the end, the lesson that the show taught is that all the parts of the solar system are important in their own way – something that applies to life, as well.