A key component of Sea Crest’s mission is empowering our learners to express creativity. This holds true for our core classes as well as our enrichment programs, and in each subject we focus on student-centered learning and curricular innovation.
For the performing arts, student-centered learning means that children are integrally involved in every aspect of the All-School Musical. Each student, from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, is part of either the cast or the crew for the production. In recent years, Middle School students have also taken on the role of scriptwriters, and they storyboard and write the Musical as part of a “Page to Stage” Explorations course. Middle Schoolers also learn the foundations of technical theater in a “Behind the Scenes” Exploration.
“We believe in finding and implementing the most innovative and creative ways to teach and learn with children at Sea Crest, and I think we get better at this endeavor every year,” says Spanish Teacher Michaela O’Connor, who led the backstage crew for the Musical. “Our core beliefs in hands-on inquiry, compassion, and character education, and in becoming more and more innovative, are what sets us apart from other schools.”
“This experiential learning opportunity gives students a chance to showcase skills and concepts they have learned in Drama and Music classes,” says Music Teacher Cathy Bleecker. “They develop perseverance, teamwork, and confidence through this wonderful tradition.”
“It is an amazing joy to watch students from all grades work together to create a work of art,” agrees Drama Teacher Michael Lederman.
The Musical involves the wider community as well. We partner with the Coastal Repertory Theatre to provide an authentic theater experience for students, and our families volunteer to coordinate costumes, supervise the green room, and lend their expertise. Each year – due to the number of people involved and the quality of the production – tickets sell out for every performance.
Last year’s Eighth Graders reported that the All-School Musical would be the experience they would remember most about their time at Sea Crest. It conveys our school’s culture and spirit, bringing the community together to express how much we value the arts as part of a well-rounded education. The confidence and poise students gain from the experience ensures that they not only learn to express creativity, but also learn to lead with courage.
“Education in the arts is just as important as education in Math, Science, or English,” says Sea Crest alumna Amanda Odasz. “Theater was where I learned about teamwork and valuing the people around me and what they have to offer. It was where I found a sense of family.”
“I got really close with a lot of people through the theater experience,” says Lucas Gust, who graduated from Sea Crest in 2007. “And I’m still friends with them today.”
To watch highlights from the 2016 Musical, visit vimeo.com/seacrestschool/mavericks.
To view a short film about Sea Crest’s All-School Musical, please click here.