May 17, 2002

Playwrights Project Presents Scenes by Castle Park Middle School Writers

Student playwrights at Castle Park Middle School in Chula Vista will see their characters spring to life in readings by professional actors on Tuesday, May 21, 2002, at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The public is invited to enjoy scenes created by 7th and 8th graders in SEEDS (Stimulating Educational Excellence through Drama Standards), a comprehensive program created by Playwrights Project and Castle Park Middle School.

Imagination runs high in the writings of Angel Ruiz (three mythical figures decided who will bear the weight of the world), Jessica Lopez (a remote control loses a button and calls on other appliances for help), Andy Aguilar (friendship between a lobster and a dog) and Edgar Mendoza (a dragon helps a boy). Family conflicts, alcohol addiction and home-lessness figure in works by Tesia Neubrand, Melissa Ruiz, Debbie Ortiz and Jose Cortez. Scenes by additional writers may also be presented.

SEEDS is one of 54 programs funded by the California Arts Council as an Arts in Education Demonstration Project. As a group, these projects seek to make arts basic to schools by defining models that work. Since September, SEEDS has engaged 480 Castle Park students in theatre and writing activities. Students at all levels of English proficiency, as well as those with special needs, have strengthened their language skills, gained confidence in presenting ideas, and learned that the arts are accessible to them, as creators and viewers. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts has helped Castle Park teachers gain techniques to integrate the arts into other curriculum areas.

SEEDS is coordinated by Cecelia Kouma at Playwrights Project and John Washburn at Castle Park Middle School. Seven classroom teachers and 130 students participated in this concluding cycle of SEEDS, with classroom sessions taught by Deanna Driscoll and Tom Hyatt of Playwrights Project. Participating classroom teachers were Shannon Baker, Mary Castorena, Jennifer Kiepler, Marisol Martinez, Barbara May, Libby Stewart and Kim Vega.

For information and to reserve seats, call Playwrights Project at (619) 239-8222. The event is free, however seating is limited. Castle Park Middle School, Cafeteria, 160 Quintard Street, Chula Vista, CA 91911.

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