PLeasant Hills students use modern-day icons to share holiday message
Abby Lee Miller of “Dance Moms,” country-music superstar Taylor Swift, characters from the animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants and the romantic vampire saga “Twilight” all learned the importance of having goodwill toward others during the holiday season.
Students at Pleasant Hills Middle School used modern-day icons to share the old lesson taught to Scrooge in Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” who went through a journey of self-awareness after being visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve who revealed to him the importance of being kind to others.
Through skits, the middle school students explored what life would be like for Miller if she always was punishing the students at her dance studio or how Swift's life would end if she only focused on men and not her music.
The performances, held Monday and Tuesday, helped to emphasize the importance of giving to others, eighth-grade reading teacher Susan Luckhardt said.
“Because there's no snow outside, we needed to get some holiday spirit into us, somehow,” said eighth-grader Ryan Michak, 14, who performed in the skit, “Keith: The Life Changer.”
Eighth-graders at Pleasant Hills Middle School, for the third straight year, wrote, directed and performed skits that were a modern take on “A Christmas Carol.”
Students were divided into groups of four to six and were tasked with creating a two- to five-minute skit, using costumes and props.
This year's shows included: “The Christmas Bully,” “Salvation of Walmart” and “Curls Gone Wild.”
The eighth-graders spent three and half weeks preparing for the performances — first reading the high school version of Charles Dickens' tale, creating a modern take on the story, writing a script, memorizing lines and rehearsing, eighth grade language teacher Julie Kolenda said.
From the assignment, students learned public-speaking skills — as they had to perform in front of half of the nearly 240 eighth-graders, Luckhardt said. They also learned the importance of teamwork.
“Some of them didn't realize what it takes to put it all together,” Luckhardt said.
The performances — totaling nearly 25 a day — were graded for class and also judged by teachers who determined the top-scoring groups. Those students received a field trip this Thursday afternoon to go see the Pittsburgh CLO's “A Christmas Carol.”
Students were judged based on costumes, props, length of the skit, memorization, volume, overall performance and if they went the extra mile, Luckhardt said.
Controlling their nerves while performing in front of their peers was the biggest challenge, many of the students said. That, and memorizing their lines.
“It was fun, but at the same time, I was nervous,” said eighth-grader Zach Wagner, 14.
Students said this assignment helped them to become more comfortable on the stage.
“It's not so bad to be in front of so many people to perform,” eighth-grader Jimbo Nassida, 14, said.
And they learned tricks to the trade.
“If you do forget a line — improvise,” Michak said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Changes taking place at Curry Hollow Shopping Center
- State agencies don’t have plan to curb flooding on Baldwin Borough's Streets Run
- Longtime Whitehall resident organizes trips to ‘hidden jewels’ of Western Pa.
- South Hills-area residents rally for those battling alcohol, drug addiction
- Brentwood Scout fine-tunes Eagle project with ukulele
- Whitehall man plans rally to raise awareness of addiction, overdoses
- Whitehall man’s hearing set for child pornography case
- Only 1 Brentwood council member resigns
- Brentwood schools to focus on STEAM initiatives
- Nonprofit provides backpacks to South Hills children
- Summer splashes