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The WYO Performing Arts and Education Center

Hey teachers and students and parents — it’s almost spring break (except you Sheridan College, bummer.)

Are you making plans? Are you traveling? Can you even travel right now? Are you just excited to have a week of semi-relaxation (unless you’re parents, that’s different.) I’m certain you’re all ready for the break and I know I’m not alone when I say, you've earned it.

The WYO doesn’t plan for a spring break — see, we’re with you Sheridan College — and the educational series we offer each season has been dramatically reduced. We have found some creative ways to try to keep schools and students engaged, but it’s certainly not the same as usual.

There is one silver lining though. Over the past few years, the WYO has been working toward offering a more robust education series — something we can take to the schools as well as house at the theater — and this year, of all years, we launched the program. It’s called WYO PLAY, led by Grace Cannon. We began the series this past September by working with a few local elementary schools in Sheridan County School District 2 and providing a four-week after-school residency.

This short but successful program was followed by offering a theater club to students at Tongue River Middle School. Grace is just now wrapping this up with a presentation at the WYO of the club members’ final project/performance. Soon, we will be promoting the Young Theatre Makers Ensemble, a series for all students in ninth through 12th grades, and then we’ll embark on the daunting task of auditioning, rehearsing and mounting the annual Tandem Children’s Musical. It’s all very exciting, and it’s a program we anticipate growing not only in support and participation but in number of offerings as well. It’s something we’re quite proud of and if you’re interested in learning more, we’d be happy to share.

On a personal note, education has always been a focus of mine. Both my parents are teachers so I hold a great deal of respect for that profession. I hope all you school folks out there — educators, custodians, maintenance crews, bus drivers, lunch crews, receptionists, librarians and all other administrators — feel you’ve been successful in your efforts so far this year. It’s always a tough row to hoe — teaching kids, supporting kids, encouraging kids — but possibly nothing ever as difficult as our/your current situation. Thank you for doing the hard work of keeping it together and helping kids learn. You are truly one of the everyday heroes.

Now, enjoy that spring break.

Erin Butler is executive director of WYO Performing Arts and Education Center. 

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