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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Youth take center stage

Essays and scripts lead to performances

Some youth have the "write stuff," earning credit for penning or inspiring plays for local theater.

Awesome Challenges was adapted from essays written by fifth-graders at St. John Lutheran School, Winter Park, Fla. Kathy Pingel, outreach coordinator of the Orlando [Fla.] Repertory Theatre, was asked to find a way to involve youth in the arts. So she asked them to write about how they solved a personal challenge.

Georgia Caldwell's fifth-grade class had no problem with the assignment. They wrote about a grandfather's illness, a "perfect" older brother, shyness, learning problems, divorce and more. All 12 essays from the class won.

Pingel adapted the essays in the style of readers' theater, where the actors tell the story without costumes or sets. Awesome Challenges debuted last spring with a volunteer cast of professionals from the repertory company. It was performed twice at luncheons to solicit donations for the theater, once at the school and then at the repertory for the children's families and friends.


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