It was a success!!! Seeing how excited and how happy the kids were absolutely made everything we did so worthwhile. While not all of the scholars showed up (I had to take on 2 different roles), the ones who did make their stage debut had the time of their lives! My absolute favorite scholar, Aziah, who played the part of Prospero, showed up late but stole the show! He was so worried about making sure that everyone was good and ready to go – it was the cutest thing ever!

I think the Cousins Studio Theater was the perfect amount of space for the performance, but the kids would have preferred being on an actual stage. It was amazing to see it all come together. I am excited to see how this project goes in the future!

Last Rehearsal

Permission Slips:

We surprisingly got a majority of the permission slips back! Even though we got the permission slips, I am still somewhat skeptical of scholars actually showing up because Higher Achievement does not meet on Fridays and their parents have to drop them off and pick them up at the school.


To maintain the scholars’ focus, we convened in a computer lab instead of on the stage in the cafeteria. We split into three groups again, but due to the smaller space had a harder time keeping the scholars separated from their friends in other groups. It was also somewhat frustrating that we did not spend the full time going through the performance as a whole, so that the scholars would understand how they needed to behave in the actual space. The students seemed the most excited and most comfortable this rehearsal; I couldn’t imagine how successful they would be if we had had more than three rehearsals.

The 2nd Meeting & The 2nd To Last Meeting

Yup…they’re the same thing.


But! A lot of progress was made. We split up into 3 groups and successfully got through all the scenes. Although we were unable to get through a warm up (getting groups of friends to split into different groups took up all of that allotted time), getting through every single characters lines, at least in a group, was a small victory! My group – (Stephano, Trinculo, & Caliban) even practiced their blocking….somewhat. I think that as a group, Jane, Ken and I felt very confident about our 2nd meeting with the kids…but because it was also our 2nd to last meeting, I am still a little worried.

Hurricane Sandy

Of course Super Storm Sandy cancels the public schools in Richmond. Of course our 2nd meeting with the scholars is cancelled. Of course my stress level is through the roof.

Meeting the Scholars!

The first meeting was absolutely horrific! We had to stay in the noisy cafeteria, where other students waiting for their busses were located, distracting our scholars. Having to try and gain control of 15 children seemed absolutely impossible.

What I found surprising was the dedication and respect that the fifth graders exuded, while the 6th and 7th graders could not have cared less. The 7th graders especially were extremely rambunctious and undisciplined and seemed to have absolutely no interest in what we were trying to do.


Honestly, this was one of the most uninspiring points of the project so far. I still feel way too overwhelmed. Hopefully as time goes on, the students will become more comfortable with us and learn to like and respect us.

Fall Break

Unfortunately I am still on campus for basketball managerial duties, so I was unable to go home for fall break – but that did come in handy, as I was able to drop off a packet of handouts, scripts and information for the site supervisor. Although I was still in Richmond for fall break, we of course had basketball practice during the time of our meeting session with the scholars.



-Have students watch YouTube video of shortened, cartoon version of The Tempest (approx. 20 minutes)

-Hand out scripts –> with children’s names and assigned characters

-Hand out character description sheet and go over with the scholars so they understand the characters (specifically their own)

-Read through scripts as a group (if time)


**If unable to watch YouTube videos, just spend more time with the scripts and handouts.

Columbus Day

We have no meeting with the students today…they are off for Columbus Day…but we did have class…so not fair.

Since we will not meet with the students next week, we planned out what we needed to print out, the cast list, and other hand outs to provide for the substitute elective teacher.

Election Fair

Walking into the cafeteria full of middle school children was an absolute nightmare. I felt like I was back in 8th grade…reliving some of the most awkward moments of my life. While we had a poster that highlighted what we thought would get the scholars attention, such as: fun, Shakespeare, acting, leadership…etc.; I believe we could have done a little more to really grasp their attention. I thought we were going to present a few times with the scholars walking around to different elective stations, instead we had to awkwardly stand in front of entire program and present our topic. It would have been more helpful if we could have known that ahead of time, and if they had more guidelines as to what needed to be presented to the students.

Again I noticed some lapses communication. The site director, Lynda, and one of the head supervisors seemed to have had very little communication. He had no idea what we were there for, or what we would be doing. He was definitely the next person in charge under Lynda, but seemed to lack any knowledge as to the goings on of the program, or what the schedule was supposed to be. What scared me the most was when he asked Jane and I if we would be doing the dancing elective as well; that was the fastest I’ve ever shook my head no!


I really could not be more anxious about the lack of time we are going to have with our Higher Achievement Southside group. Next week is our first meeting with the scholars, but we will only be presenting the concept of the project to them and they will then choose if they would like to meet with us as their elective. All of the regulations that go along with using this project as an elective class, are not realistic to our time constraints and dedication needed from the students. It is crucial that the scholars get as much practice as possible, so if they are unable to attend electives due to not getting their homework done ahead of time, that will also be stressful.


I also have some concerns about the lack of communication between the upper levels of the higher achievement organization and the coordinator of Southside. The fact that she had no idea of the stipulations that went along with the project was disconcerting.


The mandatory orientation that the group had to attend was very intensive. There was approximately twelve people there who were either mentors, advisors or elective teachers. The center director, Lynda Aaron, was very adamant about thoroughly prepping us for what to expect and what her expectations for us were. As the meeting that began at 5:30 pm went on, there were a few things I needed to note:

  • Can tell 40% will drop out in 6th grade (absence, behavior, culture, etc).
  • Invest 650 hours into each student (they invest 650 hours in themselves)
  • Getting kids on college track
  • After-school Academy
  • Electives — an incentive for scholars to get homework done
  • If they don’t get their work done, they CAN’T come to electives
  • Background check needed
  • 15-20 scholars within elective
  • 10 WEEK SESSION?! – Nov. 16th performance (only 6 weeks)
  • NOT HERE OCT. 15th
  • No school for scholars on Columbus Day (10/8)
  • Promote teamwork
  • 70 scholars in the program
  • Dress Code
  • No communication through organization
  • Send letter home for communication (EMAIL? reminders…)
  • List of names/number of kids in group?
  • Elective teacher comment sheet (every week)
  • AYD – advancing youth development
  • “What did you learn today?” – reflective questions at end – provide feedback – we will be observed and get feedback – OPPORTUNITY for scholars – asking them to help you
  • How should we have scholars address us?
  • Never raise voice!
  • Bad – Checks; ¬†Good – Feathers
  • Rule + Warning = Check
  • If a scholar gets 2 checks in one day – ELECTIVE (us) gets taken away as punishment
  • ^^ Does this happen often?!
  • Ice pack – incident report – or fight (automatic 2 checks for physical altercation)


I was immediately stressed and concerned after the end of this orientation meeting.