Lion King Jr

Dr. Tammy Grant has led a summer musical theater camp at USJ for the past 17 years. This year's camp had about 30 students, who worked together to perform Disney's The Lion King, Jr. The middle school will perform this show again in the spring.

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A Ripple in the Pond: Student-written play explores the effects of family violence

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USJ students wrote and acted in a play about a family in an abusive home. The play was written in collaboration with the Wo/Men’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program (WRAP), and all proceeds from ticket sales and donations went to WRAP.

A Ripple in the Pond follows the actions of children who witness their father physically abusing their mother. The sixth-grade son begins to hit other students and to disrespect his teacher, and the daughter, who is a senior, remains in an mentally abusive relationship with her boyfriend.

“This play was different because we did monologues for each character, from the teacher to the abusive husband,” Upper School Theater Teacher Erica Davidson said. “They gave us a peek into their motives and feelings.”

Then the students replayed the same scenes with certain characters reacting differently — from taking a stand to helping a victim with the right words. “The ending is much different this time around than the first,” Davidson said.

The play, directed by Davidson, starred Molly Maroney and Seth Weiss as the parents. Other cast members were Sydney Phelan, Ethan Schlegel, Sydney Kwasigroh, Aaron Evans, Parker Lewis, Lauren Hailey, Alexander Peftoulidis, Meg Howell, Gehrig Rabon, and Sydney Lofton.

Kayla Bircher and Clara Mariencheck were stage managers, Hannah Adams did makeup, and Aditya Thota led the tech crew. Playwrights included Davidson and students Amanda Holloway, Madison Perchik, Clare Robertson, Rebekah Sears, and Adam Sills.

Daryl Chansuthus, Executive Director of WRAP, said, “A Ripple in the Pond illustrates the damage of an abusive relationship and how it impacts an entire household.  It also illustrates how family members can change the pattern of abuse and end the spread of violence before it trickles beyond the home and into the community.”

She thanked Davidson and her students for exploring the subject of family violence in an original play. “WRAP appreciates their creativity and support. We are fortunate to have this talented group of students working with WRAP to share this important information with the community.”