By Susan Motander
Monrovia Unified School District’s School of Creative Arts, Wild Rose Elementary, has received the Disney Musicals in School grant. The grant will provide students and teachers with 17 weeks of training with theater professionals to prepare for a Disney KIDS musical this spring. Wild Rose is one of five schools in Los Angeles County that were chosen to receive the grant.
“I am so proud that our school staff is being recognized for its dedication to our students, families, and surrounding community,” Wild Rose intervention specialist and play producer Sharon Naugle said. “We believe that students thrive when they are encouraged to express themselves in the arts.”
The grant is being administered through Center Theater Group (CTG). They will provide the school with free performance rights as well as educational support materials. There will also be guidance from teaching artists trained by both Disney Theatrical Productions and CTG.
“Our teachers will receive invaluable support and professional development in theater arts from professionals, including actors, choreographers, and musical directors,” Principal Leslie Rapkine-Miller said. “This type of training for our teachers will elevate our theater arts program. We feel incredibly lucky that we have been chosen.”
These teaching artists will be working with the teachers as well as working with the students cast in the production. The approximately 50 students will come from third through fifth grades. The students will be working on all aspects of production including stage management, lighting and sound, not just the singing and dancing.
The culmination of all this will be a performance at the Ahmanson Theater in a production that will include each of the schools chosen to receive these grants.
“Our students will have the opportunity of a lifetime this April when they will perform a scene of Disney’s ‘The Lion King,’” Naugle said. “I cannot wait to see the audience’s reaction and the pride of our students as they bring this work to life on stage.”
While Wild Rose has been an elementary school is the Monrovia School District since 1912, it was only this school year that it was re-dedicated as a creative arts school. The school is dedicated to including the creative arts in all aspects of the learning process.
“It’s exciting for our exceptional program at Wild Rose School of Creative Arts to be acknowledged with this award,” Board President Terrence Williams said. “It is truly a validation of the special, expanded options we provide for Monrovia’s families and will help us to do even more.”
In addition to theater arts, Wild Rose offers programs for its students that include vocal music, show choir, dance, ceramics, and band. Starting at the beginning of next year in the 2019-20 school year, an English/Spanish Dual Immersion Program will be added to the school. Monroe Elementary already has such a program. Starting next year, students on the east side of town who wish to attend a Spanish dual emersion program will go to Wild Rose. Those on the west side will go to Monroe.
Superintendent Katherine Thorossian announced her delight in the grant. “The staff and students at Wild Rose are truly deserving of this opportunity,” she said. “I am excited to see their growth through this process and for them to be able to showcase their talents to the community in their performances.”