VIDEO: Community students perform African folk tales for Bryant Elementary

By Tara Cavanaugh

Bryant Elementary was treated to surprise performances of African folk tales today by seasoned professionals who brought the stories to life.

Those seasoned professionals were Community High School students from Janelle Johnson’s Harlem Renaissance class. The performance was a way for her students to practice the art of public speaking.

“Performing in front of kids is a little less stress, and a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “There’s a difference between just reading stories and telling stories.”

The Community students worked in groups of three and incorporated props and audience interaction into their stories. They also included a PowerPoint presentation so the Bryant students could read along.

Community student Melanie Hampton said she and group members Jenni Clancy and Eleanor Olson worked on learning their lines and interacting with kids for two weeks before their performance. “It was a little nerve-wracking to perform, but the kids were really sweet,” she said.

Bryant Principal Roberta Heyward was impressed with the Community students.

“I am so proud of you all!” she told the high schoolers as they prepared to leave. Heyward visited each one of the ten classrooms that hosted the students.

“I already have teachers asking me, when are they coming back? (Johnson) and I have worked together in previous years, and we’ll make sure we can do this again.”

Students featured in above video: Lacey Moran, Grace Stamos, Emma Sowder, Melanie Hampton, Jenni Clancy, Eleanor Olson, Jeremiah Joslin, Daniel Smith, Cooper Bodary.

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