|Santa Monica Lookout|
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Santa Monica Middle Schoolers to Perform Dr. Seuss’ "Lorax"
By Lookout Staff
July 10, 2012 -- Santa Monica’s future middle-schoolers, many of them from low-income backgrounds, will sing and dance their way through a free performance of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax this month to help them make the transition from elementary school.
The July 18 performance at The Electric Lodge in Venice culminates a four-week, interdisciplinary program designed to help under-performing fifth graders in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to enter middle school.
“The students were invited to participate based on test scores and teacher recommendations,” said SMMUSD Administrator Rosa Serattore.
The program, which started on June 25 and will officially end on July 20, includes social studies, math, science, and drama.
The Lorax was chosen because students focused on the environment in the science portion of the program and the story has strong environmental overtones, Seratorre said.
Originally published in 1972, The Lorax tells the story of an orange creature called a Lorax who claims to speak for the trees.
The Lorax stands up against the Once-ler who wants to cut down all the trees in order to build his invention.
Despite the protestations of the Lorax, the Once-ler proceeds to devastate the environment. In the end, however, the Once-ler gives the last remaining seeds to a young boy and tells him to go and plant them so that the trees could return.
So far, the program has been a success, said Seratorre.
“For a lot of them, it’s really helped them get out of their shells,” she said. “They come away (from the program) being able to express themselves.”
She also said that the program -- and participating in the play -- helps the kids develop better habits. It gives the outgoing children a way to direct their energy while helping those who keep to themselves to branch out, she said.
The students have been working with a staff of actors and teachers with the STAGES program over the course of the four week program in order to put on the play.
The performance is open to the public and will begin at 9:45 am on July 18. For more information about STAGES visit its website here.
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