Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Education

Gulf High students laugh it up in newly formed comedy club

NEW PORT RICHEY — One minute Gray Bigler plays Scooter, a 1950s-era character who revels in his own lack of social consciousness. The next minute he's mugging it up as a charmer who wears Starbucks-scented coffee cologne.

Bigler is a student comic and co-founder of the newly formed Comedy Club at Gulf High School.

"Comedy makes people feel good," he said. "And in this club we hope to identify comedic abilities in students."

Members meet each Thursday afternoon in English teacher Jan Ledman's classroom. There, they practice standup routines and techniques. Recently they received some valuable instruction from Pasco-based comic Sharon Nolan, a two-time finalist in the Florida's Funniest Person Contest who has been featured on PBS' The Young Comedians Tour and HSN. She appears at area clubs and is a member of the Got Jokes Improv Troupe in Tampa.

Nolan recently visited the club to give the kids pointers about the fine art of comedy performance. She advised them to maintain eye contact with the audience and to watch classic comedy movies to hone their craft. She also laughed along as Bigler and Christopher Tapp delivered standup routines.

Ledman also hosts poetry coffee houses and Poetry Out Loud events in her classroom. She sees the comedy club as another venue for students to express their creativity.

"In this club, the students show off their creative sides," said Ledman. "To be a good comedian, you have to learn to play with words … and that's what they learn here."

Officially formed in December, the club's origins can be found in the lighthearted friendships shared among the founders.

"It all started with Gray and me telling each other jokes," said co-founding member and Gulf High senior Alex Giannakaris. "And we were wondering why no one else had a comedy club."

"We decided to start one up," added senior Stephen Benner, the current president.

Benner credits the Gulf High IB program with influencing him to coordinate the club. And even if they don't end up becoming professional standup comics, Benner feels that participants can learn much from their involvement in the club.

"They can learn about everything from public speaking to delivering and writing jokes," he said.

Comments
A teaching aide gave a special needs student a wedgie. Now she could lose her job.

A teaching aide gave a special needs student a wedgie. Now she could lose her job.

A Pinellas County school employee could be out of a job Tuesday after giving a special needs student at Mount Vernon Elementary School a wedgie in front of his classmates, then refusing to work.According to the school district, Dominique Diamond Arms...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Florida’s school leaders have made plain for years their desire for more money to run their districts. They’ve asked lawmakers for higher per-student funding, and the freedom to spend the money where it’s needed. They’ve requested more construction m...
Published: 10/22/18
School notes for Oct. 26

School notes for Oct. 26

Pasco school calendar, briefs and events
Published: 10/22/18
Pinellas education news: Science festival, safe bus drivers, school choice and more

Pinellas education news: Science festival, safe bus drivers, school choice and more

Thousands expected for science festival, MarineQuestTwo big events — the St. Petersburg Science Festival and MarineQuest — will again be held together along the Bayboro Harbor waterfront Saturday, offering what organizers describe as &#...
Published: 10/19/18
Israel's Supreme Court overturns deportation of Florida student

Israel's Supreme Court overturns deportation of Florida student

Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday overturned an appeals court ruling that agreed with the government's decision to bar an American graduate student from entering the country over her alleged involvem
Published: 10/18/18
Sunday Conversation: Pepin Academies executive director Jeff Skowronek

Sunday Conversation: Pepin Academies executive director Jeff Skowronek

The former Pepin board chair and University of Tampa professor is filling the void left by the tragic death of former executive director Craig Butz.
Published: 10/18/18

Crowded classrooms prompt class-size concerns

Teachers and students raise concerns about the district's use of school-wide averages for class size calculation. Plus other news from the district.
Published: 10/18/18
Goliath candidate for state Senate takes first-time opponent seriously

Goliath candidate for state Senate takes first-time opponent seriously

Sen. Wilton Simpson scheduled to become state Senate president in 2020
Published: 10/18/18
Can new family resource center reshape struggling Hernando County school?

Can new family resource center reshape struggling Hernando County school?

State Schools of Hope grant provides after-school and evening classes and services to help students and their families.
Published: 10/16/18
Updated: 10/19/18

School notes for Oct. 19

School calendar, events, briefs
Published: 10/15/18