Children teach adults lesson in OCCC Disney World play

Thirteen students, ages 8-10, acted and taught parents a lesson as OCCC College For Kids presented A Day at Disney.

OCCC students, parents, grandparents and even college President Jerry Steward were reminded to always do what they are told, when College for Kids presented the play, Day at Disney, July 13 in the Bruce Owen Theater on OCCC’s main campus.

OCCC College for Kids is an academic enrichment program for students entering first through eighth grades. The program runs through July at the Family and Community Education Center at 6500 S. Land Ave.

The 12-minute play focused on a junior high school trip to Disney World and an important lesson about following directions and respecting authority.  

Steward’s grandson, Thanos Mairet, played one of the two male good friends who didn’t follow directions and was late leaving the park. Steward sat in the front row and smiled as Mariet spoke his 8 lines.

“It was such a wonderful performance. They did such a good job!” OCCC First Lady Tammy Steward said.

Director James Swedberg, who wrote the play said he was excited by each of the 13 children, ages 8-10, who learned their lines in two days. He said he had never directed children this young and was impressed their abiities.

“Some of them, this is third or fourth play,“ Swedberg said. “They are really good.”

Swedberg said he coached students using many techniques and games to get them into the acting mood.

He said his goals were to teach them concentration and awareness of others and not think about their families in the audience.

He said he told them on the first day of practice, “Don’t be pulling around the curtain and saying ‘Hi Mom!’

 “Just do your thing. They’re not even there. Don’t be worried,” he said.

The children not only acted in the play, but they also made the set pieces. Christian Morel, 9, who wore black and white athletic wear, said he helped create the green polystyrene bushes and played Larry.

He described Larry as someone who he said is a lot like him, “a god guy, who’s fun to play with and a little bit afraid of things.”

“I’m not afraid today,” he said. “I’m really glad to be in the play, and it’s really interesting.”

Emily Koskey, 10, said being in front of others can be scary, and gave advice to the other children around her before the show.

“Remember, if you mess up, other people will help you,” she said. “And, they’ll even mouth the words so you will do better.”

Swedberg said the play was a success and all students did very well. “We are really proud of the children and we had a great time.”

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