My name is Jazmine Harper-Davis. I am a Middle School Performing Arts Teacher at Great Oaks Legacy Charter School in Newark, New Jersey. As a lover of all things theatre and working with kids, I made it my duty to prove that this class is a huge asset to our school and meaningful for students. Over the course of the school year, I've opened up the doors of possibility for many of our students. I am a huge supporter of arts education and an advocate for keeping the arts in our schools, not just an after school program but a part of the curriculum.
This year I've gotten to work with all my students to teach them nearly every aspect of Performing Arts from lighting to sound to music theory to improv to movement and singing. Over the course of the school year we've had a hispanic heritage month show, black history month showcase, a talent show and they are currently working on spring musicals. It was through these experiences that I was able to see these students in a different light, likewise they were able to see themselves in a different light. A lot of my students found a passion they didn't know existed for them because they didn't have the exposure, and I want to change that.
Every Monday after school my drama club meets as we prepare for our (almost) all female production of The Wiz. The kids in my drama club range from students who are hardcore Broadway lovers to those who are extremely shy and just want to learn how to open up and be more confident. My goal is to get them to see a high quality Broadway production with actors that look like them to inspire them before their own big show.
So here's what I've proposed!
WHAT: Taking my ENTIRE drama club (20 students) to see the Broadway show “Once On This Island” on Broadway
Well according to a extensive report from Broadway League data shows from the 2[phone redacted] season the average Broadway show atendee had a median income of $194,940 (whaaaaat) and as far as racial demographics go 3.4% of Broadway audiences are African-American. (Yes, you read that right).
Seeing is believing. In class the students are always learning new songs, dances, musicals and at the same time I’ve tried my best as much as I am able to, to implement black artists into their curriculum. So they learn about different composers, actors, writers, directors, producers, dancers, singers, and in general the MANY Broadway shows that feature and tell the story of people of color. It’s important for our students that wish to pursue the arts. Most of these students expressed an extreme interest in the show, are leads in their current musicals, and are all around impressive students. This trip will not be taken lightly. I remember my HS Drama teacher taking me to see Broadway shows for the first time and it was that moment that forever changed the trajectory of my life and my career. It’s important for these students to see a show that tells a beautiful story of how love will always conquer anything no matter what, especially given the current climate.
While we plan to raise some funds of our own your contributions will help greatly.
WHEN: The ideal date to go would be during a matinee performance on Wednesday, but Saturdays are an option too due to the fact that anything else would be too late for students to be out on a school night. #responsibleteacher
This is something that is very important to me and I think it will be even more important for my amazing students. So donate what you can, and if you can’t, share it with someone that can. Every dollar counts!
Once On This Island
- Chenae White
- Merchell Hunt
- A. Coleman
- Jonathan Rosario
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