Page 11 - Scene Magazine February 2022 47-02
P. 11

AwaY from Home
 for Students
  and administrators appreciate the new dimensions and perspectives this partner- ship brings to the classroom. In a previ- ous workshop with 7th grade students at Marshall Middle School, teaching artists took classes through improv games. This included the use of vocabulary words
that would be included in an upcoming test in their class. The students teamed up to create stories using these words. It became an unforgettable session for the teachers, students, and artists alike.
When asked to give feedback on the program, the students said things like,
“I learned that it helps vocabulary words sink in when you act them out.” And, “This was the best week of ELA (English Language Arts) I have had all year. I felt alive and joyful. I learned that ELA can be more fun; you just have to have a good mindset.”
Classroom teachers said, “The stu- dents enjoy being creative and expressing themselves in unique ways. When the artists work with the students, even the quietest or most challenging students participate in a positive way.” And, “You provided me inspiration to continue work- ing to nurture and encourage an engaged
student mind in every kid. To help them embrace their opportunities to enhance their own education through learning and discovery.”
Statements like these fuel the staff and volunteers at the Franke Center for the Arts. Despite its population of 7,000 people, Marshall houses multiple theater companies, concert venues, an art gal- lery, and a movie theater. Most towns of this size cannot boast of having such ar- tistic riches. The people of Marshall value arts and culture and encourage exposure to it at a very young age. Opportunities in the arts are one thing that make this part of Michigan a desirable place to raise a family or start a business.
One living example of how the arts positively impact lives is Franke Center executive director Jacob Gates, who performed on the Franke’s stage as a teenager through the Marshall Civic Play- ers, who also utilize the Franke Center’s historic facility. After cutting his teeth in theater as a teenager, Gates went on to get a theater degree from Florida State University. From there he moved to Los Angeles, where he cultivated a suc- cessful career as a TV commercial actor
and screenwriter before moving back
to Marshall to raise a family. “You really can’t overstate the value of programs
like Franke Center Youth Theater in the lives of young people,” Gates said. “You make lifelong friends, learn important lessons, and gain confidence. You learn to surprise yourself, to take risks. Most of all, your find your tribe, your community. When done right, theater is somewhere everyone has a place, everyone belongs.”
In today’s world, what could be more important to a young person than that?
To learn more about The Franke Cen- ter Youth Theater, their mission and their programming, visit
Editor’s Note: Engaging your child in the arts can have a lifelong impact, and not just for them. From personal experi- ence, I watched my own children develop skills that would help them to be suc- cessful in school and in life including time management, creative thinking, com- mitment, persistence, motivation, build friendships, and work in a group. While research can confirm the benefits that the arts can provide to youth, I watched my own children develop a sense of commu- nity in a way that is with them as adults.

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