Student play inspires kids to help homeless students
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
12/11/12 at 6:58 AM
After the witch dies, what happens to Hansel and Gretel and the house made of gingerbread and sweets? That's the plot of "This Old Gingerbread House," a musical production put on by the fourth-grade students at Owen Elementary.
After defeating the witch, the siblings decide to live in the gingerbread house, but it soon falls into disrepair when the neighbors won't stop eating it. Eventually Hansel and Gretel have to move out because they can't afford to fix their home, but they have nowhere to go.
Their neighbors, feeling bad about what they've done, rally together to bring the fictitious television program, "This Old Extreme Home Makeover Show," to fix the gingerbread house, and even pitch in themselves to help repair the home.
It's entertainment with a message, which is the aim of the production, said Sarah Berry, the school's music specialist who directed the show.
"I don't ever want to do a production where the kids just sing and perform," Berry said. "I want them to learn from it, grow from it."
In addition to the play, students also watched a presentation from Habitat for Humanity featuring children, some of them Tulsa Public Schools students, who now live in a house built by the nonprofit group.
Berry said she brought the idea of incorporating the organization into the program to a friend who serves on Habitat for Humanity's board.
"I don't think it's anything (the students) had ever heard about it," she said.
The students from Owen have also collected items such as clothing, books and toiletries that will be donated to TPS' Homeless Education program, which provides assistance to students who are considered homeless.
The program receives federal grant funds, but can only be used to purchase school uniforms and school supplies, said the program coordinator Loida Delgado.
The donations from Owen students, as well as monetary donations, are used to buy shoes, socks, underwear and items that are immediate needs, she said.
There are about 1,000 TPS students considered homeless right now that are living with friends, or in motels or shelters, Delgado said, an increase from about 600 students the same time last year.
"Some of the kids that go through this are from our school, but (their classmates) don't know it," Berry said. "They can do something to help, even at this age."
Owen Principal Consuela Franklin said Berry's philanthropic personality goes beyond this production.
"She's teaching them life lessons, not just the gingerbread song," Franklin said. "The overall message is to lend a helping hand."
The students learned that there are kids who aren't just doing without MP3 players and smartphones, but things much more vital.
"It's the basics, the living essentials - housing, food and clothing," she said, and it may affect those in the same classroom. "We're helping our own. We're trying to help as many as we can."
For more on Habitat for Humanity, call 918-592-4224 or go to tulsaworld.com/tulsahabitat
|Total number of homeless||5,032||4,625|
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Original Print Headline: Close to home
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Bob the Builder (left), played by Cody Hardesty; Norm, played by Stephen Ketcher; Tim the Toolman, played by Kai Theriot. and Al, played by Julio Perez, perform during "This Old Gingerbread House" at Owen Elementary School on Monday. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World
Flor Banuelos applauds the musical "This Old Gingerbread House" at Owen Elementary on Monday. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World
The cast sings to students during the musical "This Old Gingerbread House" at Owen Elementary School, 1132 N. Vandalia Ave., on Monday. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World
Taliyah Runnels (left) and Andrea Martinez are among the performers in the musical at Owen Elementary. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World