The Echo

High schoolers looking back, helping out

Volunteers offer time to middle school drama

Ndunzi Kunsunga

According to sophomore student director Sam Sietsema, he began helping with the middle school shows early last school year.

“The fall of last school year I went to (Lillian) Zumberg and asked, ‘do you want help from student directors’ because we have had student directors for the middle school shows before and she said ‘that’d be great,’” Sietsema said.

Middle school theater director Lillian Zumberg said the student director system has been very beneficial.

“I think it was maybe 4-5 years ago that we formalized the process of students applying for student director positions,” Zumberg said. “Prior to that we had had a couple kids who just kind of trickled in, and we had more kids who were interested, so we had an application process which consists of if they’re willing to make a time commitment after school taking a regular bus over to the middle school to get there by 3:30 most days of the week, and then they have to be here all of tech week.”

Zumberg said she thinks the experience is beneficial for the directors as they gain unique skills.

“For high schoolers, they get to learn and see things from the more production side,” Zumberg said. “I hope it gives them an appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.”

Sietsema said he appreciates the experience and the new skills he has learned from his experience student directing such as having to command the attention of difficult children.

“You have figure out ways to make them listen to you and to make it entertaining and exciting for them, but you also have to work on getting things done,” Sietsema said.

Freshman Casey Hunter said she was attracted to the idea because of her positive experience with both Zumberg and the middle schoolers.

“I was in all the middle school shows so I knew (Zumberg) from that, and I just wanted to keep going with the experience because I liked the people involved,” Hunter said. “When the time came for the fall play, I filled out the form that she sent us to become a student director, and I did it again for this one.”

According to Zumberg, the student directors do a wide variety of things depending on where their talents lie.

“What they do depends on their skill set. They’re almost all kids who I know really well because they’ve done other shows with me,” Zumberg said. “But I’ve had a few kids who I have not seen in years who will come back and work with us. They’ll do everything from coordinate some of the paperwork and data information to this year we have some who have choreographed full numbers in the show.”

Hunter said she’s willing to help out with the middle school shows for as long as she’s interested.

“I feel like as long as I keep enjoying it’s something I could do it because I keep meeting new people through it,” Hunter said. “Through blocking and stuff, I get to meet some of the younger kids I didn’t know.”

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High schoolers looking back, helping out