Last Tuesday we had another meeting with our kids from Higher Achievement after having not seen them in two weeks. Overall, the meeting was successful and ended in a fun tongue twister game that the kids enjoyed playing. We started the meeting by going through attendance and making sure everyone knew which character they were playing. We then divided into three different groups based on chronological events in the play. I led the third group, which consisted of the Mechanicals and the final scene of Act 1. Everyone read through their lines, but there was a clear distinction between the kids who were eager about the upcoming play and those that were not. Two boys in my group were being difficult and didn’t want to participate, which makes me nervous for when show time comes around. I tried giving them the least amount of lines so they didn’t feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, the other boy in the group, who plays Quince did a great job last week. He had always been a good reader when it came to his lines, but he really embraced the acting/public speaking tips I gave him and he was much more enthusiastic about his lines the rest of the time. I am excited for him to perform on stage. His newfound enthusiasm reading the lines also inspired the two other girls in my group to read more dramatically/energetically. They were splitting the lines of Bottom and both did very well. I am impressed with how the kids did reading their lines this week, but I am nervous because they were very easily distracted. I am hoping it may have just been a bad night because they aren’t typically like that. Hopefully tomorrow they will continue to keep up the good work and stay more focused !

Last Sunday afternoon, we sent out an email to our John Marshall students with a survey to see who would be attending rehearsal the following day. Only one student replied, and she told us that she couldn’t make it to the next rehearsal due to other commitments, but was interested in attending later rehearsals.

Since we only received one reply to the email, before we left Richmond on Monday I called John Marshall High School to speak to Mrs. Ramsay and ask her how many kids stayed after school. When the secretary transferred me to her class room phone, no one answered and I was redirected back to the main office. Molly called again to try one more time before we left. She was told that Mrs. Ramsay didn’t come in that day. Annoyed and frustrated, we stayed on campus.

Apparently Molly got into contact with Mrs. Ramsay the following day, and was told that she was going through some family issues and didn’t know when she would be back. Everything seems very up in the air at this point and we aren’t sure where to go from here. I really hope everything is okay with Mrs. Ramsay!

In class on Tuesday, we brought this up with Dr. Bezio. There is a possibility that we may have to give our act to the Osher group, and start joining rehearsals on Wednesday evening. So far, we are still waiting to hear back from Ms. Ramsay and/or Verenda Cobbs to see how we can fix our dilemma.


I have some catching up to do for the past few weeks, so I will cram it into this post.

8 October: Today we had a very productive meeting with our students. It is clear that sitting around for an hour and reading the script is not the best use of our time as most of the kids lose interest very quickly. To keep them interested we played a game that Kieran introduced everyone to. It worked as a nice ice breaker, and team building exercise. Getting the kids acquainted has been pretty important because they are all from different schools within the Villa. We definitely need to focus a bit more on Mid Summer next week, but I think that today went well.


22 October: Unfortunately I was unable to go to the Villa today due to an interview. I will comment on what I heard from my group members, and what we need to do in the coming weeks. Benjamin had to go to the Villa alone today due to my interview and Kieran’s battle with a concussion. To Benjamin’s dismay it was the most eventful meeting yet, and not a great time to be alone. During the week there had been several altercations between students in the Villa, and Haley warned us that there had been issues among some of our students. Midway through Benjamin’s trip a fight broke out directly outside of the window, and it quickly grasped the attention of all of our students. It was clear that the meeting would be a wash and all of the students lost interest. Haley threatened that if anyone left to get involved in the altercation they would not be welcome back. Unfortunately, this did not seem to phase the students and several left, leaving Benjamin with 5 students. Going forward we need to stress to Haley the importance of a permanent group of kids who will be dedicated and stick with the program. The only problem is that we don’t even know if Haley will be permanent and stick with the program.


29 October: Again, I was unable to attend today due to an interview, though I do have good news to report. The group began reading through lines, and supposedly did a wonderful job. While the majority of the students are not great readers they all completed their lines with a bit of effort. I think one of the primary problems at this point is that the students don’t have the best idea of what the play is actually about. Next week we need to bring in some sort of summary so the kids have some context- I’m sure it will make reading the lines a lot more interesting. Also, on a positive note, Haley mentioned that transportation will be taken care of. On a negative, unsurprising note, she has not made any progress on permission slips. It is important that we stay on top of her to get these out to parents.


5 November: It was nice to finally be back with my group members and our students today. We finished reading through the script, which was somewhat difficult to get through. As Benjamin warned me, some of the students are very poor readers and do need help getting through their lines. It definitely does not help that we have the longest act. There were some new faces today, and some lost ones. We added a few new students that seem sufficiently intrigued in what we are doing, and I think that the group is starting to solidify. With that said, we were missing a couple of students which is a bit concerning- hopefully they will be back next week. As per usual, Haley was not the most helpful today. If anything she instigated problems and could not keep control of the group. Fortunately (or unfortunately.. we’ll see), Haley is not longer with the Villa. Things should get interesting.


12 November: While Haley is technically no longer an employee at St. Joseph’s, she does plan to work with the group until the project is over. I found this somewhat commendable after hearing that she had suddenly left. With that said, she was of very little help and seemed to have even less control of the students now that she is no longer an actual employee. We finally tried to act out the scene today. I’m not really sure if anyone expected anything different, but it went poorly. The kids were completely out of control and we were unable to get through much. I think that we need to sit down as a group before next week’s meeting and figure out how we are going to get this done. Something definitely needs to change.