STAGES St. Louis to Let Imaginations Run Wild with SEUSSICAL

STAGES St. Louis to Let Imaginations Run Wild with SEUSSICAL

STAGES St. Louis returns to the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights with a highly inspirational Theatre for Young Audiences production, Seussical. Join the Cat in the Hat and friends June 14th through July 2nd and celebrate the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community in the fantastical world of Dr. Seuss.

Let your imagination run wild on a magical journey through the Jungle of Nool to the Desert of Dreeze, the Circus McGurkus, and the tiniest planet in the sky, home of the Whos! Arrive early to enjoy exciting games and creative crafts at STAGES’ pre-show experience. Then join the cast on stage for a photo opportunity at the conclusion of each performance during a special Seussian meet and greet.

Seussical boasts a triumphant score from Tony-winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty of Once on This Island and Ragtime. The duo wrote the original show in 1999, workshopping it in Toronto where it meT Loving reviews, then landing on Broadway the following year. While Seussical was initially created as a full-fledged two act production, it continued to transform over the years, yielding a Theatre for Young Audiences version as well as Seussical The Musical, Jr., made specifically for junior high school aged performers. Seussical has had many lives but it found true success in its paired down, more intimate reincarnations, becoming one of the most frequently performed shows today and a not-to-be-missed musical treat for the young and young of heart!

St. Louis Actor Ryan Cooper stars as The Cat in the Hat. Cooper returns to STAGES, having made his STAGES debut as the Mad Hatter in last season’s Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Recently, Cooper has been a cast member in the long-running Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and the short-lived Storybook Circus Giggle Gang shows at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Local credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Evil Dead: The Musical, and eleven seasons as Jack Frost with the St. Charles Christmas Traditions Festival.

Also starring is St. Louis Actor Colton James Kastrup as JoJo. Making his STAGES debut, Kastrup is a senior Musical Theatre major at Oklahoma City University. Regional credits include Peter Pan and Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Rounding out the cast in alphabetical order are Anthony Arpino (Horton The Elephant), Leah Berry (Gertrude McFuzz), Galyana Castillo (Sour Kangaroo), Sarah Larson (Bird Girl #1/Mrs. Mayor), Claire Logan (Bird Girl #2), Kyle Pollak (Wickersham Brother #2), Jacob Scott (Wickersham Brother #1/Mr. Mayor), and April Strelinger (Mayzie La Bird).

The creative team for the production includes: Michael Hamilton (Direction), Ellen Isom (Choreography), Lisa Campbell Albert (Musical Direction), James Wolk (Scenic Design), Garth Dunbar (Costume Design), Jeff Behm (Lighting Design), Stuart M. Elmore (Orchestral Design).

Complete biographical information is listed on STAGES’ website at New York Casting is done by Scott Wojcik and Gayle Seay of Wojcik/Seay Casting.

Single tickets are on sale now and prices range from $18 – $24. Price includes pre-show activities one hour prior to start of the show presented by STAGES’ Pre-Show Entertainment Partner, Dave & Buster’s and additional craft support from Art Unleashed. The STAGES Theatre for Young Audiences productions perform in the intimate Playhouse @ Westport Plaza located at 635 Westport Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63146. For more information or to purchase tickets call 314-821-2407 or visit

STAGES St. Louis is the region’s foremost not-for-profit company committed to preserving and advancing the art form of Musical Theatre through excellence in performance and education. In 2017, STAGES celebrates its 31st year of producing Broadway-quality theatre, presenting 140 performances from June through October to nearly 50,000 patrons.

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British traditions die out: Seaside donkey rides swapped for selfies

TRADITIONS like donkey rides on the beach and watching the Queen’s Speech are dying out.

Ed Balls on Strictly Come DancingGETTY

‘ASS BEEN: Donkey rides on the beach are being replaced by Strictly Come Dancing

Old favourites including morris dancing, afternoon tea and sitting by the seaside in any weather are in decline, says new research.

Instead Brits are too busy taking selfies and checking social media.

The study also found 69% of Brits do not know the words to the national anthem – in the same year the Queen marks her 65th year on the throne.

A group of young people taking a selfieGETTY

ADDICTED: Brits are now more interested in taking selfies and looking at social media

Instead old traditions are being replaced by modern customs including swigging prosecco and watching Strictly Come Dancing.

The Great British Bake Off and the John Lewis Christmas advert were also suggested as part of 21st Century British heritage.

Brits on wet beachGETTY

NO THANKS: Brits are no longer happy to have a picnic on a miserable beach

Almost 40% said they were upset by the decline in “Britishness” and blamed the distractions of technology.

Caroline Webb, of study authors Mecca Bingo, said: “It’s interesting to see a change in what we class as a British tradition with 21st Century phenomena like prosecco, selfies and the John Lewis ad taking centre stage.”

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Why can’t every day be a holiday? | Opinion

I was around a group of people recently and one of the topics of discussion was a person’s wish that every day could be Christmas.

Not a bad thought. Christmas has presents and family and church and good food and extended opportunities to reach out to people you don’t hear from often enough.

What’s not to like and how could you not want every day to be Christmas.

Of course, usually wishes or dreams like that come with a caveat.

I had to wonder if the person they were talking about wanted it to be Christmas day every day or Christmas season all the time.

Christmas season could get a little exhausting. Does that mean we have to shop ‘til we drop every week?

Are there school programs to attend and office parties and decorations to hang all the time?

For the sake of argument, I think I’ll stick with the desire for it to be Christmas day every day, not the stretched out Christmas season.

After all, it’s hard enough to remember 12 verses to one song. I can’t imagine singing “The 365 Days of Christmas.”

You’d be exhausted by the time you got to that partridge in a pear tree for the last time.

Before I was able to concede to the person’s school of thought, I had to ask myself: “If there’s one day that could be ‘that day’ every day other than Christmas, what would it be?”

Some of us might answer our birthday, but come on, that one might be a little too selfish.

Just you could have a birthday every day. At least with something like a holiday, everyone shares in the fun.

Besides, I’ve had enough birthdays by now that I tend to low key it.

Plus, unlike Christmas, I have to go to work on my birthday. So, let’s think bigger picture.

I like the Fourth of July.

The weather is usually nice, fireworks are always a good time, there’s usually food on the grill and, if you’re lucky, you can maybe work in another day or two off from work if you have the time to spare.

Maybe it could be the Fourth of July every day.

We’re more patriotic then, too.

Memorial Day is coming up.

Any votes for it to be Memorial Day every day?

It has an attitude of new beginnings since it’s so often referred to as the first holiday of summer.

It’s time for reflection, too, as we remember those who have gone before us, and, in particular, those lost in wars.

Some families use it as a gathering time, but a lot of others probably don’t really have Memorial Day traditions.

So, Memorial Day might be nice every day, but may need a little work to gain much traction.

How about New Year’s Day?

Lots of enthusiasm and optimism for the future on that day as it marks the start of a new year (thus, the name).

I don’t know, though.

I’m not sure I could have our “every day” day be a day I usually sit and watch parades and football all day.

Plus, if every day is New Year’s Day, then no day gets to be New Year’s Eve.

No parties to ring in the new and no reason for a million people to be in Times Square to watch some ball drop.

New Year’s gets to be on the candidate’s list, but it may not become our yearlong day.

There’s Thanksgiving — again food, family and a pause in the activities. I think I’d weigh 400 pounds, though, if that were the case.

Labor Day’s the only other major holiday we haven’t mentioned.

But since it’s labeled the last holiday of summer, too much finality there maybe.

It does seem like I’m considering mostly holidays for our mythical “every day” day.

Maybe that’s what I’m hoping for, every day a holiday.

Some of you may point out that’s here for some — it’s called retirement. Can’t quite go there yet, though.

Of course, if we have the same day every day, we might lose out on the anticipation and countdowns to special days.

So, for now, I guess we’ll have to stick with 365 unique days.

But let’s keep that Christmas idea in mind.

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Wounded Landmark | Park Cities People

Highland Park’s grand old monarch pecan has become a troubled tree — troubled enough to pose a public danger and prompt talk of restricting access and modifying Christmas traditions.

“If you had to stand in that spot for 152 years, how would you look?” asked Micah Pace, Preservation Tree Service arborist. Pace recently assisted in a risk assessment of the landmark tree in the median of Armstrong Parkway near Preston Road.

The Dallas firm found four main spots of decay: to a structural root southeast of the trunk, to two limbs high above the ground, and to the upper trunk.

Pace’s report rated the potential for failure of a damaged limb or trunk as probable within the next 12 months. Such an occurrence could bring significant to severe consequences to passing traffic on Armstrong Parkway, as well as to anyone working in the median below the tree, a memo to town leaders concluded.

“It was painful to listen to that report and see the damage done to the tree,” Mayor Joel T. Williams III said.

A car wreck damaged the root a few years ago, said Ronnie Brown, director of town services.

Pace attributed the limb and trunk decay to large removal cuts made over time.
“Trees don’t heal themselves,” Pace explained. “They just cover up the wound.”

To improve the health of the tree and substantially reduce risk levels to the public, Preservation Tree recommends a variety of steps.

Based on those recommendations, town leaders soon will replace turf around the trunk with shredded hardwood mulch, adjust watering to levels appropriate for a tree rather than grass, and likely install a wrought iron fence around it this fall.

Preservation Tree recently applied fungicide and began a regime of seasonal deep root feedings.

Preservation Tree Service found decay high above the ground to two limbs and the trunk. (Courtesy Preservation Tree Service)

The firm will also replace 11 existing support cables and the lightning protection system, apply growth regulator to slow canopy growth while increasing root development, and monitor the tree with additional inspections every six to 12 months.

Town leaders estimated the cost of professional services, sod removal, mulching, and fence installation at $35,000.

Further deliberation will be required to reach a decision on how to modify the annual tree lighting, described as the oldest such ceremony in Dallas County, town leaders said.

The town still needs more information, town administrator Bill Lindley said, including answers to such questions as “With the Christmas tree lighting, does that impact the tree?”

Lindley floated the possibility of using lasers in place of strings of lights to decorate the tree for the holidays.

“If it’s going to stay, we need to do everything we can do to make it safe,” Williams said. “If that means we modify the oldest Christmas tradition, we modify it.”

Identified as “The Big Pecan Tree” on, the mammoth 75-foot by 75-foot monarch has enjoyed a long history of protection.

Civil War veteran Joseph Cole nurtured the plowed-over tree as a “testament to life” and to counter the destruction he saw during the war. After the land was sold years later, developer Hugh Prather Sr. continued to defend the tree. It became known as the “Million Dollar Monarch,” after he rejected a seven-figure offer for a lot that would have included the tree. In 1927, Flippen-Prather Realty held the first Christmas lighting.

Town leaders value that history and tradition but will prioritize the safety of residents and others who may visit the pecan, Williams said. “As important as the tree is, if it gets to the point where the [risk] is too extreme, we will have to consider other steps.”

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Channel 4 announce TWO Bake Off specials this Christmas

Not only will the new Great British Bake Off be longer, Channel 4 will schedule two Christmas specials

Fans of The Great British Bake Off will be treated to two Christmas specials on Channel 4.

The ex-BBC1 show, with Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood as judges and Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig presenting, is set to make its debut on its new home later this year.

It will also return for a pair of hour-long festive specials, Channel 4 confirmed.

The Great British Bake Off's Paul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith
The Great British Bake Off (Love Productions/Channel 4/Mark/PA)


Media website Broadcast, which first published news of the specials, said it was not yet known whether the shows would feature celebrity contestants or members of the public.

Channel 4 did not comment on a Daily Star report that a stunt for the show – with Sandi and Noel set to soar above the baking tent in a hot air balloon – was abandoned due to bad weather.

Bake Off stalwart Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins left the series following its move.

The BBC has come up with a new cookery show, The Big Family Cooking Showdown, featuring Nadiya Hussain and Zoe Ball. Nadiya was crowned Bake Off winner back in 2015.

BBC2’s new controller Patrick Holland revealed plans for the new cooking show were in place before the Bake Off moved to Channel 4. He said commissioning the new show was one of the first things he did.

The Big Family Cooking Showdown will see 16 families battle it out to prove their cooking skills to the judges. A series of challenges will be set in the contestants’ homes as well as the studio.

Speaking about the new show Nadiya said: “Family and food have always gone hand in hand and I’m looking forward to getting to know the recipes and traditions of the different families taking part. Having been through a food competition as an amateur cook myself, I know exactly how tough it can get and so I’ll be there for them, alongside Zoe, as the pressure really builds!”

The Big Family Cooking Showdown will launch on BBC2 this autumn. The Great British Bake Off is due to launch in the summer.

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Mike Tindall Opens Up About Zara’s Miscarriage

Zara Tindall‘s husband, rugby player Mike Tindall, has opened up for the first time about his wife’s miscarriage in a new interview in the Sunday Times.

On Christmas Eve, less than one month after the couple had shared the happy news that they were expecting their second child, the Tindalls revealed that Zara had suffered a miscarriage.

“One thing you do learn is how many other people have had to go through the same,” Mike, 38, said of sharing the news.

He also revealed that the couple’s 3-year-old daughter Mia has been helping them cope.

“The saving grace for us has been Mia, our daughter who is now 3,” he said. “However down we feel she will come running up in our faces. When I was playing I hardly saw her; now we can see her grow up. I can take her swimming and I can take her to Ninja Tots. You’ll never be able to see her there because she disappears in a puff of smoke.”

WATCH: What’s Next for Princess Charlotte

Mia is known for stealing the show — getting cuddles and kisses from Zara’s cousin Prince Harry at polo events and happily displaying great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s purse during official photo shoots.

The family’s miscarriage news came at a particularly stressful time for the royals as Zara’s grandparents the Queen and Prince Philip were battling heavy colds, causing them to miss on some of the public Christmas traditions they usually took part in, like the annual royal walk to church on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.

Zara and Mike both put on a brave face two weeks after their announcement, holding hands and smiling in their first appearance since the miscarriage news at a polo event in Australia on Jan. 8.

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Traditions contribute to campus life

Students gather at the homecoming bonfire, Oct. 23, 2014.

From its beginnings in 1922 as a junior college housed within a high school building, Midwestern State University has become a campus of 255 acres and 70 buildings. The university offers a variety of academic programs in liberal and fine arts, mathematics, sciences, business and applied sciences. Whether alumni consider themselves Indians or Mustangs, the university, now with 6,064 students, has carried on a tradition of pride.

Wichita Falls

The name “Wichita Falls” originated from the first settlers of the area in the 1700s, the Choctaw Indians. The name “Wee-Chi-Tah” means “waist deep,” which was the description of the river they  built their tribe around then.

“Back in middle school we learned about the Indian tribe that sent one of their women into the river to test its deepness and cross it,” Melody Gregory, art junior, said. The sculpture is located on Wichita Street, off Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

School Name

Established in 1922 as Wichita Falls Junior College, the second municipal junior college in Texas, MSU was based in Wichita Falls High School. Later, a legislative act and vote of the people of Wichita Falls formulated a separate tax district to support the junior college.

In 1937 the college attained a new, 40 acre campus of its own located on the south side of town. The Hardin Building rose above pastures and wheat fields. In that year the college was renamed Hardin Junior College, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Hardin.

In January 1950, the name changed to Midwestern University, the junior college remained as Hardin Junior College.

Another change in the university’s status came Sept. 1, 1961, when the 56th Texas State Legislature made Midwestern University part of the Texas Colleges and Universities System. In 1975, the Texas Legislature changed the name to Midwestern State University.

From Indians to Mustangs

In 2006, MSU changed its mascot from an Indian to a mustang named Maverick. The Indian served as the university mascot for 83 years before retiring. The NCAA opposed any “hostile” Native American mascot or logo as abuse toward their culture, which resulted in the change to no longer allow Native American logos.

“I saw some Native Americans that were interviewed about it didn’t care or show to have any problems with the mascot,” Logan Canifax, art junior, said. “They took it as a compliment because they were being recognized as the ones who settled here first. I wish we were still the Indians. We have enough mustangs in the area,” he said.

The campus continues to honor Native Americans with street names such as “Tomahawk” and “Tee-Pee,” statues like the Sunwatcher that represents the university’s 75th anniversary and the South Plains Indians.


Homecoming is a week-long event here at MSU that provides activities for students, alumni, family, and friends. Every year the school parade goes through the campus.

“There are tons of traditions during homecoming week. It brings different social groups together, and the rivalry is pretty cool during competitions like building the best float. And you get to go all out with school spirit,” Mark Broomfield, exercise physiology junior, said.

At the Cardboard Boat Race, one of the annual events during which students construct a cardboard boat to successfully travel across Sikes Lake.

“You can only use the duct tape and cardboard to make the boat, and really you just have to strategize with the people in the boat to make it across without sinking,” Taylor Courtney, mass communication senior and member of Sigma Kappa, said.

The homecoming bonfire is another tradition before the big homecoming game. Students can trade in other university T-shirts in exchange for a bonfire T-shirt throughout homecoming week. The T-shirts that get turned in are added to the bonfire collection.

“The bonfire was pretty fun, and I liked seeing the Tarleton shirts on there,” Katie Brown, kinesiology sophomore, said.

Kinsey McCloud, undeclared freshmen, and Morgan Sinclair, sociology freshmen, take a pictures of the Fantasy of Lights displayed in front of the Hardin Administration Building on Nov. 30. Photo by Kayla White.

Fantasy of Lights

Beginning in the late 1920’s, the Burns family of Wichita Falls began a Christmas celebration for the first time. The celebration included setting up a small Christmas tree on their front porch with one single bulb. As time went on Mr. Burns succeeded in the oil industry, and the couple made it their tradition. Each year they added a new display.

In 1954, Mr. Burns passed away in a car accident, but Mrs. Burns continued the tradition in memory of her husband. From the years 1954 to 1970, throughout Christmas season, Mrs. Burns displayed bright, colored lights on her front lawn. At the time, the display became so large and detailed that Mrs. Burns had to hire help each year to maintain it.

In 1971, Mrs. Burns passed away, and the display stopped. However, in her will she left the decorations for her son so he could donate them to Archer City. The display remained in storage for three years until the death of her son. Archer City offered the display to MSU to publicly show it free of charge.

“I’ve gone since I was able to walk,” Canifax said. “The reason we always went is because when my grandma was a kid, she saw it start out in the Burns’ yard. She lived out in Valley View so if she could make it into town around Christmas, it was a big deal for her. Now she likes to take us and reminisce about it when she saw it as a kid.”

Sheppard Air Force Base

Wichita Falls is home to Sheppard Air Force Base, named in honor of Senator Morris Sheppard, former chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee. The base opened on Oct. 17, 1941, it trained aircrew and aircraft mechanics during World War 2. Today, SAFB is the largest and most diverse training base in air education and training command in the United States. It holds a daily population of 15,000 and graduates 62,000 airmen annually.

“I lived on base for a couple of years, but I’ve been going my whole life, whether it was getting groceries, work, or I’ll still get my hair cut on base,” Branson Spencer, music freshman, said.

World’s Smallest Skyscraper

During the 1920’s oil industry boom, a conman and Amarillo contractor named J.D. McMahon made his mark on the city by creating the world’s smallest skyscraper – and getting away with it. McMahon planned with investors to assemble a multi-story office building that would overlook Oklahoma. The skyscraper was the measurements of a 480-foot building, but McMahon intentionally did not mention to his investors that his blueprint was measured in inches rather than feet, which made it 480-inch (40 ft) skyscraper. As a feature in “Ripley’s Believe or Not,” the building is still a visible landmark located in downtown Wichita Falls on the corner of 7th Street and LaSalle.


MSU developed a tradition creating the same look for buildings on campus – all with “MSU brick” covering the exterior of the buildings.

However, that changed, when the only supplier of the brick stopped making it.

“There was a source for the original brick and then everybody basically quit making it,” Kyle Owen, associate vice president for facilities services, said.

But that didn’t stop the buildings from being designed in brick.

Debbie Barrow, director of board and government relations, said a company in Texas developed the MSU brick that was used for all campus buildings but over time the original materials used to make the brick ran out. In addition, Legacy Hall, the newest dorm building still resembles the other campus brick but isn’t the exact same.

“When we built the Dillard building, they came with some new bricks and we had to see which bricks matched the best,” she said. “The original MSU brick is no more. But the replacement has seemed to serve us well since Dillard was built.”

During the second mission of the campus-wide game of Human vs. Zombies; Danny Le; nursing junior and a human; throws a sock; which stuns zombies; at Christian Evans; nursing freshman and zombie; while running towards base on the Sunwatcher Plaza. The second mission stated that the humans needed to gather more water which would be provided at Sunwatcher Plaza; which would be a safe zone for a certain amount of time. During their mission they would have to avoid the zombies and survive at their own expense. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Humans vs. Zombies

One of the newer traditions at MSU is Humans vs. Zombies, a campus-wide game of tag put on by the University Programming Board. Students begin the game as humans and there is only one chosen Zombie to tag them. When humans are tagged, they become Zombies and try to tag the remaining humans. As either Human or Zombie, students are identified by their bandana color. Humans are expected to wear the bandana around their legs while zombies wear it around their heads. As humans, students are able to use socks against the Zombies for protection. The ultimate winner of the game is the last human and zombie to survive. Also, prizes are provided for the winners.

“I really enjoyed how everyone took the game seriously as well as how many people played. The more that people play, the more fun it is for everyone,” Marcus Greetis, English sophomore and top human winner, said.

Cole Alsup, mechanical engineering sophomore and top zombie winner said, “I liked that the game provided me with friendly, outside the box competition with friends and people I never would’ve met otherwise. I know a good 60 people that I can easily start up a conversation with now because we competed with one another.”


First Bank
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
Department of Foreign Languages
The Yard Food Truck Park
Dr. Billie Doris McAda Graduate School
Career Management Center
Frank & Joe’s Coffee House

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Good Morning News: Sally Yates Kicks Ass, the Blazers’ New Logo, and One Less Parade for Portland – Blogtown

Bridgetown comedy festival was this weekend, but with so many shows, you probably missed most or at least some of it. Don’t cry though, you can check out our coverage here, here, here and here.

Sally Yates testified in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee yesterday, revealing that she told the White House about Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia less than a week into Trump’s presidency, but, in classic Trump fashion, he didn’t fire Flynn until shit hit the fan and the Russia connection became public knowledge.

Her testimony also revealed that Trump is looking increasingly stupid for publicly maintaining the belief that Russia did not interfere with the 2016 election.

In other Idiot President news, he ordered the FDA to stop watching CNN (Trump’s public enemy number one) and exclusively watch Fox News. Really.


The Trail Blazers revealed a new logo yesterday! The beloved pinwheel remains, of course, though the font has been “modernized” and is “built from our rich history and reflecting the styles of the Northwest.” Not sure I buy that explanation, but I do like the new logo.

One of Portland’s favorite Christmas traditions, the Macy’s Holiday Parade, will be no more. Macy’s announced Monday that it will no longer sponsor the parade, which was started in 1987 by local department store Meier and Frank (which is what my dad still calls Macy’s). First the 82nd Parade of Roses, now this?? Something must be done about these senseless attacks on parades!

Portland’s new gas tax is outperforming expectations in its first three months, raking in more money than city officials expected. There’s no telling if the trend will continue, but if it does, the Portland could grab about $3 million more per year than projected.

After 20 years in Portland, restaurant and pool hall Touché will be closing, and soon. They’re being pushed out by the boom of condos and apartments in the Pearl district. According to Touché’s Facebook page, they’re looking for a new location, but no plans are made yet. Their final day will be May 14.

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Soufrière Young Authors Project | American Libraries Magazine

Students in the Soufrière (St. Lucia) Young Authors project work on their projects during the weeklong workshop.
Students in the Soufrière (St. Lucia) Young Authors project work on their projects during the weeklong workshop. Photo: Grace Kilbane

High school students on the tiny Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia are becoming published authors, thanks to the combined efforts of Soufrière (St. Lucia) Public Library, the regional Peace Corps, and local schools. And as these young writers build their literacy and writing skills, the schools and libraries in the west coast town of Soufrière are adding these culturally relevant, Creole-influenced children’s books to their collections.

The Soufrière Young Authors project has published six books since its first workshop in April 2016. Its goal is to produce all of its students’ books and distribute them widely on the 27-mile-long island.

Peace Corps volunteer Grace Kilbane and Soufrière Public Library Librarian Catherine Prospere developed the project as a way to increase literacy and community engagement with the public library. While culturally specific to this East Caribbean island, the project parallels US and global conversations about access to diverse books in diverse languages, the role of libraries in sharing community stories, and the power of collaborations.

“The local community of Soufrière and greater St. Lucian community have been extremely supportive and proud of the young authors as many parents, teachers, principals, librarians, news networks, and community members have been boasting about them and purchasing their books,” Kilbane says. Many books, especially in school libraries, are donated from other countries, and few books for young readers are written for or by St. Lucians.

Eighteen students participated in the project, which began with a seven-day workshop on writing and editing and featured guidance from guest storytellers who served as experts on local Creole culture. After listening to the storytellers’ memories and stories, students brainstormed ideas for the characters, settings, and conflicts of their stories. Students pitched their stories to peers and used feedback for further development, then created storyboards to plan the relationship between the illustrations and text. They then refined word choice and sentence structures for a young audience.

“The project was aligned to engage readers and writers to inspire the next generation with great literature,” Prospere says.

“Our writing skills definitely improved. Our creativity skills definitely escalated to another level. Our confidence also improved,” says young author Torry Adonis.

During phase two, the project’s Literacy Team worked with the authors to finish their writing and with local youth to add illustrations.

The first six published books debuted in January during Nobel Laureate Month in St. Lucia—linking the young authors to a legacy that includes local laureate and poet Derek Walcott, who died in March—and were among the best sellers at the St. Lucia Book Fair.

The books cover aspects of local life and St. Lucia’s Creole culture and traditions, including the history of St. Lucia freedom fighters, the meaning of the Jounen Kwéyòl festival, Christmas traditions, and its annual Carnival. At the back of each book are comprehension questions to further learning. One story, Defending the Wicket, was written about Daren Sammy, the World Cup–winning captain of the West Indies cricket team and the first St. Lucian to become team captain. Author Naima Joseph was able to present her book to him.

The remaining 12 stories are finished, and illustrations are being added. One of the workshop facilitators and a teacher at the secondary school wants to bring more young authors to the fore.

“I’m hoping we can get more writers or branch out into other genres—poetry, for example, or maybe drama—but keep documenting our traditions,” said English and Caribbean history teacher Chrisentia Combie.

A set of the first six books can be purchased through the Soufrière Public Library for $60 Eastern Caribbean dollars (about $23 US). Purchases and donations will be applied to additional book printings.

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Duchess Of Cambridge Does Not Ride Horses

Kate Middleton, 35, has picked up elegance and poise, which a royal princess possess, with sheer ease after marrying Prince William in 2011, but the one thing that she has not picked up is horse riding. While the activity is a huge passion among the members of the royal family, the Queen herself goes horse riding at several occasions. The Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Tindall is also an Olympic medal-winning equestrian, according to reports.

However, Middleton has not shown fondness for the hobby, even though, the act is something her husband has done his entire life, and a tradition the Queen and other members of the royal family adore, reports said.

ReadWhy Is The Royal Family Talking About Mental Health?

Although, the Duchess of Cambridge, ensures that she does not break any royal tradition while making public appearances, there have been times when she intentionally or unintentionally did so. Here are the five times when Middleton broke the royal traditions.

1. In 2014, NBA player, LeBron James wrapped his arms around Middleton’s shoulder during a photo session. The royal protocol was broken as such a sign of affection is a breach of proper etiquette. A similar royal faux pas took place when former First Lady Michelle Obama got touchy with the Queen during a 2009 G20 summit reception in the UK, the New York Times reported.

2. Prince William and Middleton break the Royal protocol each time they fly with their son George. According to the royal rules, two heirs should not fly on the same flight together so that their Royal lineage is protected, E!Online reported.

3. Middleton and Prince William celebrate their Christmas at home instead of spending time with the rest of the British royal family. The royal couple has broken the royal tradition and have opted to spend the Christmas vacation at their palatial home Amner Hall in Norfolk, where they are joined by Middleton’s parents and the rest of the Middletons, the Independent reported.

4. In an article in Star magazine in 2015, entitled “Royal Bodyguards Tell All” one guard had revealed that Middleton took pole dancing classes to help get her trim figure back following her first pregnancy.

5. At the age of 29, Middleton broke the record of being the oldest royal bride to ever grace the aisle. While she and William began their relationship in 2003, the couple waited until 2011 to marry, the Telegraph reported.

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