CHADRON – For four weeks each summer, students from area high schools move into the Chadron State College residence halls to sample college life as part of Summer Upward Bound.
This year, 22 students from Chadron, Crawford and Alliance completed courses in art, cooking, composition, literature, math, music, science, Spanish and sports. Five students who won the annual writing competition earned a trip to San Francisco in late September.
Off campus activities involved horseback riding at Chadron State Park, a visit to the Fur Trade Museum and a trip to Fort Robinson State Park including a stop at the Trailside Museum and a guided tour of the Post Playhouse.
Vada Burri of Alliance said she was pleased to be included in the Post Playhouse tour and was surprised at how little time the Post Playhouse actors have to prepare for each show. Burri, who has been in one act plays in high school, has her sights set on a degree in theatre with a minor in stage makeup.
Tom Ossowski, artistic director at the Post Playhouse, told the group of about 10 leaders and students he receives between 4,000 and 5,000 applications annually for parts in the summer productions and then selects an average of 250 actors, many who can also sing and dance, to audition for him in New York City. The final cast member selections are made based on auditions.
On the tour, Upward Bound students learned about theatrical makeup used in “The Addams Family,” met costume, set, sound and light designers, several who are CSC students, and watched actors practice choreography for “Cabaret.”
Director of the Summer Upward Bound program, Maggie Smith-Bruehlman, said it was great to watch the creative process as it unfolded.
“In addition to ‘Cabaret,’ we met with the seamstresses busily stitching costumes for all the performances, as well as the stage construction crew who had a limited amount of time to build sets for all musicals,” she said. “The backstage view of the musicals was an eye-opening experience as we had the opportunity to see and hear from the people who put it all together. The performances appear flawless due to their diligence and expertise. After the tour we saw the ‘The Addams Family’ and we could appreciate the final product even more.”
At the summer program’s final banquet in the CSC Student Center, essays, drawings and other art created by the students was on display for their families, teachers and peers to view. CSC graduate Amy Graham led a choral group in several numbers including the theme song of “Footloose” and students performed a Spanish dance led by Rossana Jaeger.
Dr. Lee Miller, CSC professor of English and humanities, announced the winners of a trip to San Francisco, including a complete tour of Alcatraz, in late September. He said competition in the writing workshop he teaches each year was particularly intense this time.
“Their essays were bold, sophisticated and demonstrated hard work. Exemplary behavior and attitude were also considered in selecting the winners,” he said.
The winners are Cherokee Parviance and Olyvia Wenzel of Alliance, Nebraska, MiaKayla Koerber and True Thorne of Chadron, and Krystina Parkins of Crawford, Nebraska. Many of the writing students created stories based on real or fictional characters connected with Alcatraz and some of the stories were read aloud during the banquet.
In addition to student awards, group leaders Katie Patrick, Amy Graham, Darrien Oliver, and Lane Swedberg were recognized for their years of service to the program with the presentation of "Dream Team" T-shirts.
Following the on-campus portion of the program, the Upward Bound students and leaders traveled to Colorado for whitewater rafting and to see a performance of “Footloose” at the Boulder Dinner Theatre plus visits to numerous other cultural, educational and entertainment venues.
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