SUNY Oswego’s Mentor-Scholar, Artswego programs bring theatre to local kids

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego’s Mentor-Scholar program, thanks to support from Artswego, brought six students from the Oswego City School District to the final performance of the college theatre production “Fahrenheit 451.”

Mentor-Scholar matches college mentors with middle and high school students from seventh to ninth grade in an afterschool setting and provides opportunities to visit and explore campus.

The SUNY Oswego theatre department’s adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451” was based on Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 novel, which he later developed into a stage play in 1979. It envisions a future dystopian America that has outlawed the reading of books and employs “firemen” to burn any they find in guilty hands.

Inspired by Bradbury’s own concerns on censorship at the time, the work also encompasses themes of racism, bigotry, paradoxes, religion and knowledge versus ignorance.

For the Oct. 27 “Fahrenheit 451” performance, six Mentor-Scholar students joined family members and mentors in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. Also present in the Mentor-Scholar group of 19 were program coordinators Patricia Waters and Nicholas Greene from SUNY Oswego and Oswego Middle School Assistant Principal Robyn Proud.

“Due credit goes to all involved — director, production team, actors and actresses — for creating a dramatic but educational experience for the young scholars, and a hearty thank you to the Artswego administration for making this opportunity possible,” Greene said.

Students from the Mentor-Scholar program will have a return visit to campus on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Events such as these provide an opportunity for the program’s growing, young academics to experience the world of college life and promote an appetite for higher education in their own lives, Waters said.

“‘Fahrenheit 451’ was an opportunity to seamlessly integrate our Mentor-Scholar middle-school students into campus life,” Waters noted. “In addition to biweekly afterschool mentoring sessions, mentors and mentees participate in social and cultural activities intended to help students connect with and aspire to higher education.”

For more information on the Mentor-Scholar program, contact Greene at [email protected] or Waters at [email protected]