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Booker Middle Drama Students Bring History to Life for a Younger Generation

by Christine Hopkins, VPA Coordinator at Booker Middle School

SARASOTA COUNTY, February 21, 2020 – Booker Middle School’s Visual & Performing Arts program is partnering with Gulf Gate Elementary School to bring history to life through arts integration.

On Friday, March 6th, at 1:00 PM, students from the Booker Middle drama program will perform scenes from “The Diary of Anne Frank” for 5th grade students at Gulf Gate Elementary. Students from Michelle Rivas’ class at Gulf Gate Elementary have been reading the acclaimed novel and will be given the opportunity to see the story performed live on stage by Booker Middle’s VPA students. The performers, led by Theatre teacher Carrie Mills, are in 7th and 8th grade, and are experiencing the importance of bringing history to life for a younger generation firsthand through this project.

Mills states, “Breathing life into Anne Frank’s story, in addition to reading it on the page, helps us understand the humanness of the Holocaust. Most of the history I have learned in my life was from watching a play, so I feel that bringing history to life is instrumental for our younger generations. We have become so siloed in education that we don’t always reach the younger generations to show where you can go and what comes next. This project allows us to share that dream with the younger generation and, for the performers, the ownership of this program is absolutely moving because they are the ones leading the example, they are coming in as the role models, and they are sharing humanity with our future.”

The project is a collaborative effort among Sarasota County Schools and the surrounding community to bring awareness, understanding and hope to younger generations. Booker Middle’s arts integration partners on this project— the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and the Florida Holocaust Museum —will assist with an age-appropriate, post-show discussion featuring a distinguished panel of guests. This will invite the audience and the performers to reflect on the Holocaust and its impact on the world.

Booker Middle student, Jackson Carney, states: “This project is really special because we all get a chance to look back at history on an event that changed the world and society. It’s 80 years after this happened but we’ll remember it forever and a lot of people reflect on it regularly. It’s important for us as students to learn about it because we may have had family members affected by it or involved with it, so learning it now, especially as we head into higher grades, really helps us academically and emotionally.”

“The Diary of Anne Frank” will be presented at Gulf Gate Elementary School on Friday, March 6th at 1:00 PM. This performance is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Please email christine.hopkins@sarasotacountyschools.net to make seat reservations.