HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – For the past six weeks, 20 specially chosen freshmen from Butler High School in Huntsville were picked to be part of a program where volunteers taught them all about theater, from acting to set design.
It’s something the students were asking for, a positive way to express themselves. The growth in the teens over the past weeks was life changing.
Deborah Soule, Executive Director of Partnership for a Drug-Free Community says, “I had the opportunity to be there the very first time when they were very puzzled, didn’t know why they were here.” She adds that the student were, “very inward and I watched each week as they changed and blossomed and grew and it’s been a real gift to be able to see work in action.”
Fred Sayers is a volunteer theater teacher with the pilot program. “I think that was the whole idea of the program was to introduce something new that they haven’t experienced before so they could see what was available and the possibilities.”
The students were chosen based on their interest in drama, academic performance, and for some, the need to have something positive in their lives.
Megan Carroll is a teacher at Butler, and is involved in the Cultural Enrichment Program, created by The Partnership for a Drug-Free Community. She says, “It’s so important for them to have something like this to fall back on because our kids are in a community where they can get pulled into negative things.”
Freshman Tesla Norwood says the program has helped her to overcome her shyness.
Hunter Wiles, also a freshman, says, “Sometimes you just don’t know who people are in school unless you see them be free a little bit. Just like they wouldn’t know I want to be a comedian.”
Soule would like to see this become a permanent project at Butler in the next couple of years. “They have dreams. And it’s up to us as a community to embrace this project and allow these kids to have the dreams they already are envisioning.”
The students will continue their work next semester and put on a play.