Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Education

Palm Harbor drama students win statewide honors, prepare for regional contest

PALM HARBOR — Palm Harbor University High School drama students performed the play Wiley and the Hairy Man at the Florida Theatre Conference just for practice, really.

They thought the experience, as well as the critiques of the judges, would help prepare them for the Pinellas County School District theater festival, where they would perform the same play.

So they were shocked to learn later that they had garnered top honors at the statewide festival.

"I honestly didn't believe it, I thought they were pranking me," senior Vanessa Lopez said. "We came back (home) before the closing ceremony — we didn't find out when everybody else did. We were astonished about the award."

"I didn't even know there was a winner," said sophomore Tim Hart. "Winning that Florida conference was a big boost to our morale."

Because of their win, the Palm Harbor students will represent Florida next month at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"It's quite prestigious to be one of the best schools in Florida — to be invited to go to the Southeastern Conference," said Graham Howard, Palm Harbor University High's drama teacher.

The conference will feature workshops for students and teachers, as well as auditions for theater programs in many universities, he said. It's a big break for the students.

"I couldn't be prouder," Howard said.

Meanwhile, the students continue to fine-tune the production. Lopez, Hart and the cast and crew staged Wiley and the Hairy Man again at the Pinellas district's One-Act competition, where it was named one of the top three performances. That means they will be representing Pinellas again in another statewide competition, right after Chattanooga in March, Hart said.

Wiley and the Hairy Man by Susan Zeder is a story about fear and overcoming it, and is geared to young audiences. The play revolves around a 10-year-old fatherless boy, Wiley (played by Darcy Forest), who lives in a swamp with his Mammy (Amanda Springer) and Dog (Vanessa Lopez). He's afraid of many things but especially the Hairy Man (Tim Hart), a "conjure man" who killed Wiley's dad. Other students perform in the chorus, which creates an undulating, living swamp.

The students recently staged a dinner performance to raise money for their trip to Tennessee.

After several runs, Hart feels good about the show.

"It's an absolutely amazing performance, and I cannot believe how far we have come," he said.

Comments

Hillsborough school district will pursue two kinds of local taxes

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School District officials took an important step Tuesday toward asking the voters to pay higher taxes for schools that, they say, are not getting enough money from the state.The board voted 5-0 to submit a tax referendum r...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Editor’s note: Ethan Hooper wrote today’s column to give Ernest Hooper Father’s Day off.In May, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and I recently secured a job as a first-grade teacher with Orang...
Published: 06/18/18
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18
School board races attract new faces

School board races attract new faces

TAMPA — When long-time Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes resigned this month from the board to run for the State House of Representatives, the decision affected more than just her seat in west Hillsborough’s District 1.It also coul...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/17/18
Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

TAMPA — Money that the Hillsborough County School District needs to build schools and replace air conditioners might be farther from reach, thanks to a new state law and a bureaucratic process required before the voters can decide on a tax referendum...
Published: 06/14/18
University of Chicago eliminates SAT/ACT requirement

University of Chicago eliminates SAT/ACT requirement

The University of Chicago will no longer require ACT or SAT scores from U.S. students, sending a jolt through elite institutions of higher education as it becomes the first top-10 research university to join the test-optional movement.Numerous school...
Published: 06/14/18
Unhappy with superintendent’s budget wish list, Hernando School Board shuts down talk of tax increase

Unhappy with superintendent’s budget wish list, Hernando School Board shuts down talk of tax increase

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano presented to the School Board Tuesday nearly $53 million worth of budget priorities, asking them to choose which will be funded in the upcoming school year.The board voted 3-2 later Tue...
Published: 06/13/18
UT shines the spotlight on visiting authors

UT shines the spotlight on visiting authors

The University of Tampa’s MFA program will host the June 2018 Residency Visiting Writers Lectores Series that runs from now until June 21 on the ninth floor of the Vaughn Center, 401 W Kennedy Blvd. Each reading will be held at 7:30 p.m.Each January ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Hernando School Board fires Superintendent Lori Romano after member says she ‘lost the public trust’

Hernando School Board fires Superintendent Lori Romano after member says she ‘lost the public trust’

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano will step down at the end of this month following a 3-2 vote by the School Board to terminate its contract with her amid increasing concerns about her ability to lead.Romano has suffere...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18
Pasco summit aims to merge school cultures while making students feel included

Pasco summit aims to merge school cultures while making students feel included

NEW PORT RICHEY — The dozen Fivay High school students and their administrators arrived at the Pasco County school district’s annual Together We Stand conference with a clear goal in mind.With hundreds of former Ridgewood High students arriving in th...
Published: 06/12/18