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Case Theater Students Aim to Improve School Culture


On May 5, 2017, 38 Case High School Eagle Theater students travelled by city bus to Starbuck Middle School to teach their Break the Hate Habit workshop.  The workshop uses high school students who have been trained to become leaders in using dynamic theater techniques with diverse groups.  It is an experiential service-learning project that aims to create positive communities by breaking down barriers between students.

The first part of the BTHH workshop focuses on teambuilding and group initiatives.  Then the middle school students are invited to participate in the Worst Case Scenario play. In creating the play, Case students interviewed Starbuck's VFZ (Violence Free Zone) staff members in advance to learn about the challenges of students at Starbuck.  A short play was written depicting a scenario where a student struggles through these issues.

During the workshop, Starbuck students interact with the Case actors and come up on stage to replace different characters in the show.  Then the middle school students are challenged to respond to the situations as they unfold. The action is stopped at critical moments to give the audience a moment to reflect on what is unfolding, and to search for more sustainable solutions. The dynamic conversation and modeling that takes place leaves a lasting impact on the students. They learn more creative and lasting ways to deal with common situations that young people face each day, with the goal of being ready to soar in high school and beyond.

Explaining how he changed form his days in middle school, Case senior, Chris Vanderleest said, “I wasn’t always like this. I couldn’t stand up to anyone or anything until I took Theater and found the courage to do the right thing.”

Middle school students learn from high school students during the Break the Hate Habit workshop. It gives them an opportunity to build positive connections with not only the Case Theater program and their community, but also within themselves.

Case students in a circle watching a presenter Case students sitting on the floor in a circle having a discussion Case students acting in situations