Center Stage knows that everyone has a story to tell and this school year, the theatre’s education department worked with the Middle Grades Partnership (MGP) to teach students from 19 public and private schools how to tell theirs. Beginning in late fall, students from McDonogh and partner Mt. Royal Middle School attended a series of after-school workshops where together they learned to write and perform their own personal stories.
Over the course of four meetings, five McDonogh Middle School students and their friends from Mt. Royal learned first-hand from teaching artists who helped them experience the creative process of developing and delivering a narrative. They not only learned how to speak with purpose, but they also polished their writing abilities, broadened their listening skills, and improved their public speaking. Over time, by listening to each other’s stories and giving and receiving constructive feedback, a sense of empathy and deepening relationships grew among their peers.
“This curriculum focuses on personal storytelling, a process which helps children build self-confidence and empathy. It's not just about who you are, but who you will become," explained Michael Wiggins, Director of Education Programs at Center Stage.
The culmination of the program took place on Saturday, May 12, as students from the nine partnerships attended a daylong story slam workshop at Center Stage. It was an opportunity for them to try their hand at stand-up comedy, record themselves telling a story, or to work on their story in front of a live audience. The day concluded with a performance called “Stories Make the World” in which two students from each pair of schools were selected to perform their stories.
McDonogh’s Kare C. ’24 took to the stage to present "Never, Never, Never Give Up" a story about learning to ride a bike for the sixth grade triathlon. Her Mt. Royal partner Precious C. shared, "Don't Judge” an account of how she discovered the importance of seeing who people are on the inside.
McDonogh Middle School teacher Willie Little, an MGP director said, “To see the students working and learning together, supporting each other, and by the end, becoming comfortable creating and sharing a personal story with each other, was a moving and enriching experience."
Other McDonogh participants were: Derek C. ‘25, Ebonie B. ’25, Sydney S. ‘22, and Myles J. ’22.