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September 30, 2013 Parkway North High School

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Community

Lights.Camera.Conflict:

Th ea tr e D ep art men t Per for ms Controver sial Pla y : The Laramie Proje c t Photo by Monyelle Asher

Monyelle Asher Staff Writer

Photo by Monyelle Asher

The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufmann, a play about the murder of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual man who was beaten and left for dead in Laramie, Wyoming, will open at Parkway North on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. Shepard died on Oct. 12 at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado due to the injuries he sustained in the beating. “This script was chosen by a reading committee of students,” said drama teacher Chad Little. “They wanted to do something that had some social meaning - some meat to it that the community could rally around.” Some people may see Shepard’s death as a hate crime and The Laramie Project as a tribute to him; others, such as members of Westboro Baptist Church, protest against The Laramie Project and gay rights. “Any time a school or group decides to do this show, they [Westboro Baptist Church] boycott them,” Little said. According to Little, Westboro’s possible protest makes him think about how North can peacefully show them that this is a positive, embracing community. “I think it will promote ticket sales because people will think it’s controversial and wonder why [Westboro] came to protest the play,” said junior Khaila Jones, an actress in the play. Little also expects a positive reaction from Parkway North. “It tends to bring the community closer together. They all have to

Junior Emma Mitchell and sophomore Alex Galindo prepare for the Fall play as Mitchell watches Galindo practice his lines from a scene in The Laramie Project in the theatre.

work towards a common goal because they don’t like the language and the rhetoric that Westboro tends to put out there,” said Little. “I really feel that it’s best to not give [Westboro Baptist Church] any satisfaction of disrupting our program and what we’re trying to do because our group, and this school, represent love and acceptance and respect for diversity,” said English teacher Heather Fleming, co-leader of the Student Social Justice Group. The message behind The Laramie Proj-

ect is an important one that can teach people many lessons. “I want everybody who sees the play to just think twice about how we treat people, not just people that are gay, but all different types of people,” Jones said. “I think that everyone needs to look at themselves in the mirror.” Fleming also said that she wanted people to walk away from the play knowing that respect, admiration, and acceptance will always be better than hate.

PNH ITS Troupe Sponsors Annual Tots Eat Can Drive Emma Mitchell Staff Writer Every school year, students and teachers rally together to aid several causes. This year, the ITS (International Thespian Society) Troupe will be sponsoring Tots Eat, a fundraiser in which students and teachers donate canned goods throughout the month of October. These cans go to families in St. Louis who don’t have enough to get daily meals. Drama director, Chad Little, enjoys seeing everyone come together to help with Tots Eat. “The ability to help others and the teamwork of getting everything organized are my favorite things about Tots Eat,” said Little. Cans are donated weekly in academic lab, along with students who will go doorto-door to ask the community to help out. If each student brought in one can, that would be close to 1500 cans to go to families in need. Each year, the troupe tries to bring in around 3000 lbs. in cans. Little said he enjoys seeing the “fun little competition” between academic labs on who can collect the most cans. Junior David Thal has actively participated in Tots Eat in the past. “It’s so fun to hang out with friends. There are so many awesome people and you’re just around

Little agrees and feels the important message of this play is tolerance and acceptance and that students can learn about themselves and others. Shepard, who was very supportive of diversity among all groups, has a legacy that still lives on, in the performances of Parkway North and other organizations perform in The Laramie Project.

them,” said Thal. Throughout October, students sign up for weeks to go door-to-door asking for cans. It is led by the students in charge of sign-up, and either after school or on the weekend students will adventure around neighborhoods asking people to give a can or two. Not only would these families benefit from the kind gesture, students can benefit by knowing they helped out those less fortunate than themselves. On top of helping a good cause, students build new relationships with their peers and strengthen ties with old ones. At the end of the month, all the participants in Tots Eat gather at the school for one final collection night. On Halloween evening, students will go out trick-or-treating, but instead of asking for candy, they ask that adults donate cans instead. Senior Nicole Hunt has participated in this volunteer program since she was a freshman. She enjoys the Halloween collection evening because students still dress up and have a good time. “I like seeing people’s reactions when I show up in costume and say I don’t want candy, I want cans,” said Hunt. Halloween evening has previously brought in a large amount of cans that boosts the collection total higher. Last year, the ITS

Troupe brought in 1800 lbs. worth of cans. Tots Eat is an opportunity to help the community, forge new relationships, build off of old ones, and contribute to a cause. Students can sign up for Tots Eat on the drama bulletin board. More information about Tots Eat will be posted on the theatre bulletin board.

Sophomore Evan Meier rehearses his monologue before school in the theatre for the upcoming Fall play.

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