BHS special needs students rev up the stage with performance of ‘Cars’

With a cast of 16 and a crew of a dozen, “Cars: This is Your Life” came to life on stage at Blaine High School (BHS) auditorium March 6 and 7.

The cast, members of the high school’s DCD population (students with developmental, cognitive disabilities and adaptive disabilities), devoted diligent energies and high-spirited input during three months of preparation to produce and perform the whimsical play.

Doc Hudson aka the Hudson Hornet (Isaac Anderson) races past Flo’s V8 Cafe in a scene from “Cars: This is Your Life,” presented on stage by Blaine High School special needs students March 6 and 7. Photo by Sue Austreng

Doc Hudson aka the Hudson Hornet (Isaac Anderson) races past Flo’s V8 Cafe in a scene from “Cars: This is Your Life,” presented on stage by Blaine High School special needs students March 6 and 7. Photo by Sue Austreng

Despite technical difficulties – and a snow day that prevented necessary fine-tuning – the show must go on. And so it did, much to the delight of moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and neighboring schools’ special education students and staff in the audience.

“I’m so proud of these kids and what they’ve done. They’ve been working on this since December, always with such enthusiasm and such hard work. I’m so proud of them,” said Carrie Holly, BHS special ed teacher and director of the production.

Divided into three committees, teachers, paras and the students of rooms 131, 138 and 139 made costumes, created scenery and props, rehearsed lines and promoted the production.

The “Cars” cast of characters included students who depend on state-of-the-art communication devices to deliver their lines and so, assisted by iPads, iPod Touch and Ablenet, each character delivered lines with great energy and perfect timing.

Special education teacher Beau Dickey recognizes the value of the play – both for the students and the audience.

“This is also a great opportunity to show all of the great technology that is available for communication devices and give our students who are non-verbal a voice,” said Dickey. “It is really a chance for them to shine and show their peers and members of the community all that they are truly capable of.”

Special needs students at BHS have performed on stage each spring for 12 years or more, each time selecting the play, building and painting the scenery, developing costumes and props, learning the lines, making the invitations and posters and announcing the production.

“We push them with some high expectations and they meet them every day,” said Holly.

According to Holly, there is no budget line item designated to fund the students’ productions and so costs are absorbed by parents and others who donate to the cause.

“The funds come from parents,” Holly said. “We don’t have a budget for this, so if anyone would like to help with the 2014 play, please let us know.”

Those who would like to help fund the next play can contact Holly (Carrie.Holly@anoka.k12.mn.us; 763-506-6687) or Dickey (Beau.Dickey@anoka.k12.mn.us; 763-506-6703).

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

 
up arrow