New Stage Theatre Provides Performances for New Albany Schools

New Stage Theatre, a professional theatre located in Jackson, Mississippi, presented in-school performances of The Selfish Giant and Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad to students in the New Albany School District on February 16-17.

New Albany Elementary School hosted two performances of The Selfish Giant on Thursday, February 16.  Oscar Wilde’s classic children’s story about The Selfish Giant who wouldn’t share his beautiful garden becomes a joyous play that touches on themes of friendship, empathy, sharing, and kindness. The giant comes home from a long trip to find children playing in his garden. He kicks them out, threatening to bring them to justice for trespassing. But a harsh winter—in the form of comic characters Frost, Snow, and North Wind—brings the realization to the giant that the children who used to trespass in his garden implanted friendship in this special place. The giant’s heart melts in a life-changing moment, and spring, along with the children, returns to his garden.

Oh Freedom!  The Story of the Underground Railroad was presented to New Albany Middle School and New Albany High School students on Friday, February 17.  The greatest collaboration against racism in American history, before the Civil Rights Movement, was the Underground Railroad. People of all ethnic backgrounds, of both sexes, and from North and South came together to resist the oppression of slavery by helping escaped slaves make their way to free territory in the years before the Civil War. Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad celebrates these alliances by combining the many stories with songs of the period. Famous participants like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe are represented as well as lesser known heroes of the movement like John Rankin, whose house on a hill was a beacon for freedom; the mysterious “Peg Leg” Joe who moved among the plantations teaching slaves to escape and “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song designed to show them the way; and Henry “Box” Brown who had himself put in a box and mailed to freedom. The production will encourage student audience participation in the singing of traditional spiritual, “Oh, Freedom.” The story inspires all to work together for the good of all as it celebrates a time when Americans were at their courageous best, supporting one another—regardless of background, ethnicity or gender—in the cause to extend to all Americans our greatest, most inalienable right: freedom.

New Stage Theatre is a professional not-for-profit theatre.  New Stage Theatre’s Arts-in-Education tours are supported, in part, by Entergy, the Chisholm Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Health Officials Remind Parents: “It’s Time for Back to School Immunizations”

 

While the end of summer seems a long time away, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reminds parents that state law requires kids to be immunized against childhood diseases to enter public or private school, Head Start or daycare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 95 percent of parents nationwide choose to vaccinate their children, protecting them against potentially deadly diseases.

“Childhood vaccinations protect your child and those around them,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “The back-to-school rush is our busiest immunization effort each year. It’s great to see children receiving required vaccinations, and we remind parents that the best protection is having their children immunized on time.”

Required vaccinations for children entering school in Mississippi for the first time include: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP); polio (IPV); hepatitis B; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); and varicella (chickenpox). There is also a requirement for children entering seventh grade to receive the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination. In addition, human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) and a meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) are recommended for adolescents 11 to 15 years of age, and a meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) is recommended at age 16 to 18 years.

Parents must provide the school with a Certificate of Immunization Compliance (Form 121) from their local health department or physician prior to school entry.

“To prevent school registration or school entry delays, it is important that our students entering PreK, Kindergarten, and seventh grade receive the required vaccinations and present the proper paperwork at their respective school prior to the first day of school,” said Tammie Reeder, Health Services Coordinator for New Albany Schools.

You may check with your physician or county health department if you have questions about which immunizations your child will need. Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive vaccinations for $10 each.

The MSDH accepts Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan (AHS) as well as most private insurance plans that cover childhood vaccines.

For more information on immunization requirements or medical exemptions for school entry, visit www.HealthyMS.com/immunizations. To secure an appointment for immunizations at the Union County Health Department, call 662-534-1926.

 

New Stage Theatre Presents Arts-In-Education Programs

New Albany Androcles

On February 18 & 19, New Stage Theatre presented in-school performances of Androcles and the Lion and Mississippi Talking: Scenes from Mississippi Writers at New Albany Elementary School and New Albany High School, as part of the New Stage Theatre Arts-in-Education statewide touring program. Androcles and the Lion was presented on February 18 at 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. at New Albany Elementary School for 1,128 Pre-K to 5th grade students; and Mississippi Talking was presented on February 19 at 8:15 a.m. for 498 6th through 8th grade students and at 10:00 a.m. for 545 9th through 12th grade students.

Androcles and the Lion, adapted by Kathryn Walat from Aesop’s fable, features an unlikely trio of friends of a singing mouse, an escaped slave, and a hungry lion whose bond is put to the test in this enchanting and heartwarming 50-minute play. Androcles, an escaped slave from the city, makes his way into the jungle where he finds the Lion with a thorn in his paw. Risking capture, Androcles decides to help the Lion and the two become fast friends. But when the evil Emperor imprisons the two companions, it’s the tiny Mouse who reminds them all that friendships aren’t easily broken.

New Albany MS TalkMississippi Talking: Scenes from Mississippi Writers is an entertaining and moving show, which illuminates the richness of the state’s culture in scenes gathered from the works of Mississippi’s finest writers. Audiences will be fascinated by this 55-minutes theatrical view of Mississippi that joins comic and dramatic scenes selected from poetry, drama, short stories, and novels by Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Richard Wright and more.

The shows were directed by Chris Roebuck, Education Director at New Stage, and Francine Reynolds, Artistic Director at New Stage. They were performed by New Stage’s Professional Acting Company members Chris Ambrose, Matthew Denton, Allison Heinz, and Briana Thomas.

The performance was followed by an open discussion between the acting company and the students.  The discussion explored the literature, the themes of the play, and the experience of acting.

New Stage Theatre is a professional not-for-profit theatre.  New Stage Theatre’s Arts-in-Education tours are supported, in part, by Entergy, the Chisholm Foundation, and the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Dean Provence Endowment Winners Announced

Pictured are the recipients of grant money from the Dean Provence Endowment at New Albany Middle School & New Albany High School:  Front Row l-r:  Savannah Minnick; Tracy Vainisi; Julie Eaton; Melissa Luna; Carey Crain;  Back Row l-f:  Justin Watson; Maia Miller; Jim Muncie; Betty Short; David Hopple; Brooke Dillard; Geoffrey King, Endowment Representative, Bailey King, Endowment Representative, Jed Morris, Endowment Representative.
Pictured are the recipients of grant money from the Dean Provence Endowment at New Albany Middle School & New Albany High School:
Front Row l-r: Savannah Minnick; Tracy Vainisi; Julie Eaton; Melissa Luna; Carey Crain; Back Row l-f: Justin Watson; Maia Miller; Jim Muncie; Betty Short; David Hopple; Brooke Dillard; Geoffrey King, Endowment Representative, Bailey King, Endowment Representative, Jed Morris, Endowment Representative.

The Dean Provence Endowment for Excellence in Education Board has announced the allocation of funds totaling nearly $8,200 to teachers in the New Albany School District (NASD). In an effort to maximize the effectiveness of the awards, this year grants were directed to New Albany Middle School and New Albany High School. Endowment funding will be used for equipment and materials in the classroom that are not typically covered by the school budget.

The Endowment for Excellence in Education was begun in 1986 as the vision of School Board member Dean Provence. Provence, a New Albany native, was an active volunteer in both school and community activities. Through his volunteer efforts, he recognized the need for additional funding in the schools for projects and classroom materials, and was instrumental in establishing the endowment fund. Following his death, the locally supported endowment fund was renamed in memory of Provence and has continued to provide needed funding to classrooms in the New Albany Schools for more than twenty years. Since 1986, the Endowment has provided approximately $335,000 in support to the NASD.

The endowment is funded through individual and corporate contributions and fundraising events sponsored by the Endowment Board. Contributions to the Dean Provence Endowment for Excellence in Education are accepted throughout the year and may be mailed to 301 Hwy. 15 North, New Albany, MS 38652.

Project            Applicant            Amount Awarded

Books for the Library, Melissa Luna, $2,600.00

Scholastic Math Magazine, Maia Miller, $272.25

Brass Room Projector, David Hopple, $500.00

Projector, Justin Watson, $349.99

HoverCams, Tracy Vainisi & Julie Eaton, $648.18

Laboratory Equipment, NAHS Science Department, $3,012.00

Spanish Proficiency through Reading, Savannah Minnick, $776.00

New Albany School District Receives Continued Funding Through 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant

NAES Site Coordinator Laura Reedy & Enrichment Instructor Dawn Stroupe  conduct science experiments for 21st CCLC participants during a recent afterschool session.
NAES Site Coordinator Laura Reedy & Enrichment Instructor Dawn Stroupe conduct science experiments for 21st CCLC participants during a recent afterschool session.

The New Albany School District has been awarded continued funding through the Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant from the Mississippi Department of Education.  This is a five-year grant that will support expanded before-school and after-school activities, parent engagement opportunities, and summer enrichment programming at New Albany Elementary School, New Albany Middle School, and New Albany High School. This is the third year the school district has provided programming through the 21st CCLC grant.

Elizabeth Day helps a group of students prepare props for Readers' Theater during a before school session.
Elizabeth Day helps a group of students prepare props for Readers’ Theater during a before school session.

The school’s 21st CCLC program offers academic, artistic, and cultural enrichment opportunities to students when school is not in session. The purpose of the program is to provide opportunities for academic enrichment and tutorial services, as well as offer students an array of programs such as youth development, art/music programs, recreation, technology education, and character education.

Lights on Afterschool Week was held during the week of October 19 in an effort to bring awareness about after-school programs and the importance of programming through the 21st CCLC grant program.   The New Albany School District participated in the week’s activities by planning special enrichment activities for the program’s participants.

A group of elementary students work on a bat craft during before school enrichment time.  These students have been studying bat facts during the month of October.
A group of elementary students work on a bat craft during before school enrichment time. These students have been studying bat facts during the month of October.
A group of NAMS students participate in an afterschool book club.
A group of NAMS students participate in an afterschool book club.