Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Value


When I started The Shakespeare Club in 2005, Yuri Hayashi-Smith was our school's principal. For three years, Yuri mentored me in my fledgling attempt to corral children into an Elizabethan world.

After Yuri retired, she returned to see our productions every year.

I recently asked Yuri to comment on the value of The Shakespeare Club. I hoped she would give me one or two sentences. Here is her reply:

A Partial List of Reasons Why Shakespeare Club Should Be in Every School

Shakespeare Club empowers students to believe in themselves.


Shakespeare Club makes students role models for other students.

Shakespeare Club helps to develop responsibility, honesty, integrity, empathy, kindness and compassion.

Life Lessons are taught in Shakespeare's plays.

Shakespeare Club helps students understand how teamwork can create something more powerful than just one individual.


Shakespeare Club makes teachers and parents believe in their students again.

Shakespeare Club made me believe again that seemingly impossible things are possible with work and lots of love. This is a powerful program which should be in every elementary school.

Shakespeare Club motivates students to understand historical influences.

Shakespeare Club showcases the best in student achievement.

Shakespeare Club encourages student writing, makes students better writers in the different genres, and helps increase student achievement overall.

Shakespeare Club helps students to explore feelings and emotions and present characterizations which exemplify them.


Shakespeare Club amazed me, each and every year, with quality productions including: A Midsummers Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Twelfth Night.

All performed by elementary students in Old English. These performances would make William Shakespeare proud!

Shakespeare Club won over skeptics and cynics with the students' depth of performance and understanding of Shakespearean characters.

Shakespeare Club is a source of school and community pride.

Shakespeare Club embraces students of all backgrounds...neighborhood, disadvantaged, limited-English speaking, special needs, and all ethnicities and races.

If only the world could emulate this model, it would be a better place to live in.

Thank you, Yuri, for getting it!


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
Dear William,

I would like you to come to Whitehall as soon as possible to perform your new play.

Sincerely,
King James

P. S. I loved your play Hamlet.

If I were King I would wear only red T-shirts and purple shorts every day and would only eat meat, veggies, dairy and, Lets BE Frank, hot dogs. My name will be Marvin 'O' Gravel Balloonface the 64th and I would rule the land of the silly.
—Sam, 4th grade

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