Drama offering expands at MRUHS
By SANDI SWITZER
Correspondent | April 05,2013
CLARENDON — Bringing Shakespeare from the classroom to the stage will assist students in developing critical literacy skills.
Mill River Union High School will be expanding its drama department in the fall to offer courses focused on great playwrights from the Bard of Avon to Tennessee Williams.
MRUHS school directors Wednesday approved a recommendation by Principal Andy Pomeroy to replace Family and Consumer Science classes with drama courses featuring onstage and behind-the-stage offerings.
FACS educator Sarah Treat is retiring and the funds budgeted for that part-time position would be used to expand the drama department, according to the principal.
The new courses were a better match for Mill River since effective public speaking is a critical skill all high school graduates need, Pomeroy said.
“To get up in front of someone and talk and act helps speech,” he said.
Furthermore, plays by Shakespeare, Williams and George Bernard Shaw reflect important American and world literature, he said.
Students will have the opportunity to better understand the meaning and themes of the written word through performance, according to Pomeroy.
“If you see literature alive, I think it creates a much better understanding,” he told the School Board.
The new courses would be structured like English classes with reading and writing components.
“You learn how to be a good writer by reading good writers,” he said, adding the same was true for effective speaking.
School director George Ambrose offered support for the idea of the new courses featuring the four components of effective speaking, writing, reading and listening.
The board approved Pomeroy’s recommendation, but indicated they would decide which courses should be electives or requirements after a presentation by members of the English Department on May 1.