Submitted by the Fulton City School District
Talented creative writers from Granby, Volney, Lanigan and Fairgrieve Elementary Schools in the Fulton City School District had the chance to see their work come alive this week as members of the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse incorporated their material in a performance featuring pieces submitted by New York state students in grades six through eight.
The process began back in October of 2010 when cast members from the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse visited Fulton schools and introduced the concept to students. After the visit, several days were spent during English Language Arts classes working on creative writing pieces. Finally, the completed writings were submitted to Merry-Go-Round Playhouse for consideration to be included in Echoes. Echoes is a performance made up of skits, poems and songs based entirely on work created by sixth through eighth grade students from across New York State.
This year, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse received over 4,000 submissions and after reading through them all, the best of the best were selected to be included in a 50 minute performance. Using the students’ work as the inspiration, costumes, sets, props, mime, sound effects and music were added to create a complete show. The idea behind Echoes is to involve and encourage students in the writing process and offer them a creative outlet for self expression.
Featured in the production were pieces by Gabrielle Humphrey from Fairgrieve, Paige Rowlee from Volney, Aryelle Barbagallo from Lanigan and Nathaniel Shatrau from Granby. Every author was identified by their name and school before their piece was performed. Students were not told ahead of time whose work had been selected, so hearing their names during the performance was how they found out that their creative writing pieces had been selected for use in the show. These four students were presented with Showcase Awards during a ceremony at the conclusion of the production.
Eleven other pieces submitted by Fulton students were selected to receive Excellence in Writing Awards. They were described as those that would have been included in the show had it been a longer production. Submitting these fine writings were: Aryelle Barbagallo, Payton Stowell and David Houck from Lanigan; Makhali Voss, Canyon Raley, Nathen Smith, Josie Collins and Zachary Pepper from Volney; and Vanessa Waldron, Sarah-Ann Perkins, and Dylan Gorman from Granby.
Fulton students showed there is a strong pool of exceptional writers in the district as many others were recognized for submitting pieces of distinction with an Honorable Mention Award. The cast of Echoes explained that these entries stood out among the thousands received as great works of creative writing. Receiving Honorable Mention Awards were: Tre Contois, Rian Burke, Erin Baker, Frank Barbagallo, Michael Mankiewicz, Michael Savich, Richie King, Malcolm Wettering, Sydney Tetro, Karly Kearns, Shannon Zych, Marcus Stacey, Matt Coleman, Sarah Rice, Cassandra Wood and Kaylee Bort from Lanigan; Miwa Burdic, Victoria Izyk, and Asia DeSantis from Volney; Tyler Moore, Jackie Blasczienski, Devon LeBeau, Noah Simon, Chris Goss, Richard Bardin, Garret Hazboun, Payge Osborne, Deirdre Murphy, Isaiah Mueller, Dillon Holloway and Bryce Guernsey from Fairgrieve; and Tyler Griffis, Michele Reis, Paige Blakeman, Zachary Taylor, Stacey Sereno, Zedekiah Skinner, William Bowers and Nicholas Hicks from Granby.
Every student who submitted a creative writing piece for consideration received a participation certificate. John Mercer, a sixth grade teacher from Fairgrieve, summed the event up saying, “It’s certainly one of the students’ favorite activities of the year.”