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Castle Rock Elementary students building community with annual musical

Teacher Danika Rucker in the middle of her classroom of kids

CASTLE ROCK— Perfecting their singing, choreography and staging, Castle Rock Elementary students are putting the final touches on their musical production of The Lion King before they perform this Thursday.

It’s an annual tradition at Castle Rock. Music teacher Danika Rucker, now in her third year at the school says it’s rare for an elementary school to actually perform a musical like this with so much staging and choreography involved, as it requires the kids to have a lot of focus, commitment and alert attention spans. But the kids demand it and Rucker loves their passion.

“If we didn’t do a musical every year, the kids would be in complete uproar,” Rucker joked.

“There has been so much more music to learn this year compared to last year, but the kids are so excited to do it and we’re excited to do it with them.”

The cast of nearly 50 kids includes kids from kindergarten all the way through sixth grade. Rucker is consistently amazed at how much talent is in the 400-student school.

Kids sitting in a semicircle with green fans covering their faces   Kids singing with their arms raised in the air

“We have a kindergartner in one of the lead roles, which blows my mind,” Rucker said. “This little tiny girl came in to audition and her singing was lovely and her monologue was so cute.”

Additionally, every single student involved is paired with a buddy they can rely on for help when they need it.

“I feel like it’s building school community, as well, to know they each have a buddy,” Rucker said.

High school sophmores Allie Korenic and Meagan Harkin from Douglas County High School have also been engaged to help with the production stage crew and work with the kids in smaller groups.

“They take care of so much,” Rucker said. “All of the props, all of the sound cues, all of the lighting cues, they help kids memorize lines. That piece has been completely student-run.”

“This is fulfilling community service hours for us, but it also has been so much fun,” said Korenic, who used to attend Castle Rock Elementary herself and now has a younger sister involved in the show.

One of the younger cast members, Mikey, who has significant special needs, is making his stage debut playing one of the 15 lead roles in the cast.

“Last year I was too shy to do the show. I’m having a lot of fun and I’m glad I’m doing it this year,” he said with a huge smile.

The students will perform The Lion King this Thursday, December 8 at 6:00 p.m., with an additional performance during the school day.

 

December 6, 2016 | By CSilberman | Category: Castle Rock Elementary School, Elementary Education

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It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.