Students perform Alice in Wonderland in costume

Community Efforts Make a Mad Hatter of a Great Production at Onondaga-Brant

January was a busy month at Onondaga-Brant Public School as students, staff, families, and community members worked hard on the theatrical production of the classic Alice in Wonderland.

“The driving force behind the play was French teacher Mme Perry, who researches and purchases the materials to launch school-wide productions every two years,” said Monique Goold, Principal at Onondaga-Brant. “Productions like these come at a significant cost and effort to schools, so combining forces with families, community members and volunteers can make all the difference.”

In a joint effort, staff members and school council members at Onondaga-Brant developed a plan and applied for a PRO (Parents Reaching Out) grant to support the construction of sets, and the design and creation of costumes. The grant money helped supply resources for a community night to work on these endeavours. Staff, families, students and volunteers came together in early-January to bring the production of Alice in Wonderland to life.

“It was a sight to see adults and youth working together, learning how to use various tools and resources to create costumes, props, and sets,” said Goold. “The collective problem-solving and energy of the participants was electric!”

Students and teachers prepare sets for a play production

Students auditioned, and committed to a rigorous rehearsal schedule to develop characters, stage the blocking, and work on character interactions on their own time, during recess breaks, and some class time. Every classroom took on a role, singing a song that supports the story of Alice in Wonderland between acts of the play.

Supporting the students in these efforts was a committed team of volunteers, including Mrs. Branston who envisioned all of the sets, costumes, and props, and helped organize additional volunteers to bring the production to life. Even students from Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School took part, running the sound and lights for the show.

Community is a key part of Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, facilitating opportunities to encourage and support family and community involvement in students’ learning and achievement at school.

Students and their dedicated crew of support took to the stage at Pauline Johnson for the final production on January 31st.

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