Youth

Two visions of Wonderland presented by area youth theater companies

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Wonderland, it seems, is the place to be this weekend. The imaginary land comes to life on both sides of the Maumee as the Horizon Youth Theatre stages “Dorothy in Wonderland,” directed by Allison Kilbago, at the Otsego auditorium while the youth wing of the Waterville Playshop stages “Disney Alice in Wonderland Jr.,” directed by Shauna Newbold, in the Maumee Indoor Theater. The HYT show runs Thursday, June 21, Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. “Alice” runs Friday, June 22, (click for information) and Saturday, June 23 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 24 at 2:30 p.m. (click for information) And, yes, that is Dorothy who lands in Wonderland courtesy, of course, of yet another tornado. The conceit of the HYT production of the Brian Taylor script is that Dorothy (Terra Sloane) and her friends Scarecrow (Calista Wilkins), Tin Man (Thomas Long), the no longer Cowardly Lion (Nash Valantine) and Toto (Lila Stover) get blown into the middle of Alice’s adventure. They have to draw on the virtues, courage for the lion, for example, bestowed on them by the Wizard to cope with this new strange place and its crazy characters. Don’t fear, Alice (Sophia Nelson) is here as well as all the usual unusual Lewis Carroll characters. That includes the Mad Hatter played by M Clifford as a hipster clown, making the most of a few scenes. The script offers panty of cameos, with even chorus members having names, or at least numbers when they’re part of the deck of cards. Dorothy is charged with defeating the queen of hearts played with haughty majesty by Isaac Douglass. Glinda (Ann Weaver) floats in from Oz to help. She and Alice share the most touching song “Just a Girl.” Interesting that in a show with so much action, to the point of being antic, that this ballad and the first act closer “Will We Ever See Home Again” are the songs that register most. Like “Dorothy,” “Disney Alice in Wonderland Jr.” uses recorded tracks instead of live music. In the case of the Disney musical, those are jazzy big band numbers that really drive the action. With high concept costuming and make up, “Alice” hits the stage like the animated movie come to life with the neighborhood kids spliced in to play the characters. Here the plot points of “Alice in Wonderland” are used to hopscotch from one musical number to the other. The script fits in 17 musical numbers in a quick-tempo one-hour run time. At times the pace seems like a dance recital with one bunch of colorfully attired kids after another shuffled on and off the stage. Given the greater attention paid to the story we get not one, but three Alices. Macie Skiff plays the principal, while…

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BG student walkout draws hundreds against gun violence

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Armed with a megaphone and youthful optimism, Alyson Baker and Luther Shinew climbed atop the Bowling Green High School spirit rock this morning to take on the NRA and unresponsive politicians. They watched as an estimated 300 students streamed out of the high school and middle school to stand by them in protesting gun violence in schools. “Every student has the right to go to school and come home at the end of the day,” Baker, a BGHS senior, said to her fellow students. And the same goes for their parents, Baker said, shouting out to the 100 or so citizen supporters gathered on the sidewalk in front of the school. “These kids are about to change the world,” she said. This morning’s walkout at BGHS lasted 17 minutes – one minute for each of the students and teachers killed one month ago in the Parkland school shootings. “I am doing this because I think it’s time for a change,” Shinew, a BGHS senior, said. “It’s been 20 years since Columbine” yet gun laws are more lenient now than two decades ago. “We need to stop killing our children,” Shinew said. Baker and Shinew thought they might get 30 to 50 kids to join them in the walkout. They were stunned by the hundreds that came not only from the high school, but also the middle school. “I was in shock. I was in awe,” Baker said. “It makes me so happy to know that this many people have our backs. I was filled with hope.” Baker decided to organize the walkout when she saw footage of the Parkland shootings. At that point she wasn’t sure if the district would allow the show of protest. “Whether there were going to be repercussions or not, I’m doing it,” she said. Once the walkout was announced, the organizers received kudos and criticisms on Facebook for their efforts. Baker said she disregarded the naysayers. “We ignored them. It motivated me more,” she said. Unlike some other school districts, Bowling Green officials supported the rights of the students to hold a walkout. “It’s about their First Amendment rights,” high school principal Jeff Dever said as he stood outside the school before the walkout. Superintendent Francis Scruci attended, but did not speak. “I want this to be student-led,” he said. The Bowling Green Police Division had a heavy presence during the walkout, and made citizen supporters stand out on the sidewalk along Poe Road. The citizens stood quietly, except for occasional shouts of support for the students. “I’m worried about our children,” said Gloria Enriquez Pizana, who worked as a substitute teacher last year. “I’m so proud of our kids.” The citizens also stood in the cold to show support for gun law changes. “It’s just irrational…


Hundreds walk out of BG High to protest gun violence

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hundreds of Bowling Green High School students walked out of school this morning (March 14) at 10:00 to protest gun violence. The student-led protests against gun violence come a month after the Valentine’s Day attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and teachers. The BGHS walkout was to last 17 minutes in their honor. Jacob Fausnaugh likened it to the protests against the Vietnam War. In the 20 years since the shootings at Columbine more people have died from gun violence than American troops died in the Vietnam War, he said. “They walked out for that, we walked out for this.” Alyson Baker, one of the organizers of the walkout, said shortly before the protest was scheduled to begin that she expected about 100 students to take part. When students started streaming out of the school it was clear participation was much greater. The crowd that gathered near the spirit rock in front of the school appeared to be several hundred strong. Baker said the response from fellow students had been mixed. “Some people think it won’t do anything.” Still she said she expected to see many students coming out to say otherwise. Gun violence is “essentially an epidemic,” she said. Baker also noted the crowd of about 100 supportive community members lining the sidewalk near the school. School administrators and Bowling Green police kept the community members and media off school property. Baker said the school administration “has supported us the entire way.” “They’ve been a tremendous help.” (This story will be updated.)  


Wood County youth vaping more, drinking alcohol less

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Local teens are downing more caffeinated energy drinks and inhaling more vapors. But fewer are using alcohol, painkillers, cigarettes, cocaine, meth and steroids. More than 10,000 students, in all of county’s public schools’ grades 5 to 12, responded to the biennial Wood County Youth Survey coordinated by Dr. Bill Ivoska. For those who question the wisdom of trusting kids to tell the truth on the surveys, Ivoska wholeheartedly agrees. “Kids lie. We know kids lie,” Ivoska said Friday morning as presented the findings of the survey to its sponsors, the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Board, the Wood County Educational Service Center, and the Wood County Prevention Coalition. The anonymous surveys are designed to catch kids who were fibbing. For example, students who reported using drugs with made-up names were booted from the results. Kids who reported to using all drugs, all the time, had their surveys tossed out. What was left were survey results that local experts feel accurately reflect drug, alcohol, and mental health issues faced by Wood County students. In some ways, the surveys reveal a “whack-a-mole” problem. When local services focus on one issue, that problem decreases. Meanwhile, another problem arises.  For example, local teens have faced heavy-duty warnings about smoking for years. The survey shows the results of that, with cigarette use down 84 percent in teens from 2004 to the present. “Think of the long-term health benefits for those kids,” Ivoska said. Local efforts have been so successful, that the results stand out as better than national trends. “Rates of decline in Wood County are sharper and faster,” Ivoska said. “We’re closing that gateway.” But when one gate closes, another one opens. Vaping has seen a 17 percent increase in use among seniors in the last two year. “Vaping is in a honeymoon period right now,” he said. Many teens consider vaping as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, especially with harmless sounding flavors like “bubblegum.” Vaping is also more difficult for people to identify among users. “You can sneak a vape in your locker” and no one would know, Ivoska said. The trends showed that alcohol use among Wood County students is down 46 percent, and binge drinking is down 63 percent since 2004. “Another great accomplishment,” Ivoska said. In the last two years, marijuana use went up with some older kids, while cough medicine use went up with some of the younger ones. Use of LSD ticked up a bit for all ages. The use of painkillers dropped – possibly due to local efforts to limit access and encourage older family members to discard old medications. “Grandma’s closet is getting cleaned out,” Ivoska said. The decline in heroin use may be attributed to kids seeing the effects of the drug on…


Young at art: Youthful pianists display prodigious gifts at Dubois competition at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No one landed a quadruple Lutz at the 2018 David D. Dubois Piano Competition Sunday. That wasn’t the only difference between the kind of athletic competition seen globally and that held in Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University. There were no cheering throngs, just a handful of listeners. But then no one flopped. No gold medals are handed out. But the winners collect checks, and all participants, even those who applied but didn’t make the semifinals are eligible for BGSU scholarships. Collecting the $3,000 top prize, was 16-year-old Raymond Feng, of Rochester, NY. Isabelle Liau, 16, of Novi, Michigan, placed second collecting $2,000 and bettering on her third place performance in last year’s competition. Third, $1,000, went to 13-year-old Angelina Ning from Charlotte, North Carolina. To compete classically-trained pianists in grades 8 through 12 (age 18 or younger) must prepare a 20-30 minutes long program of music from the last 500 years or so, with music from at least three stylistic periods, Baroque through contemporary. One piece must be a Classical Era sonata – Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and their contemporaries. All must be memorized with the exception of pieces composed after 1945. Though most finalists played a contemporary piece, none took advantage of that exception. The only music visible was on the judges’ table in front Robert Satterlee, of the BGSU piano faculty, and the guest artists Ursula Oppens and Phillip Moll. Behind them sat Laura Melton, also of the piano faculty, who was the driving force behind bringing the event here, and continues to direct it. Robert Swinehart, who represents the Dubois Trust, said that staging the festival at BGSU was a wise decision. He attends every year, and every year, he said, the field of pianists improves. “This is a phenomenal event.” He was a close friend of David Dubois for 20 years, he said. Starting as a high school math teacher, Dubois applied his knowledge to management systems beyond education in books, speeches and consulting. He also loved music, and sang in the National Cathedral choir. He wanted his estate to benefit young musicians, Swinehart said. That took the form of the competition at BGSU as well as organ scholarship at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. “He would be a very happy man to see how well the money is being used for the further education of the students,” Swinehart said. In addition to the competition, the festival includes a master class for the university students by the guest artists, a performance by the guest artists, and scholarships to BGSU. Those are open to all pianists who participate, including those who apply but are not selected as semifinalists. The semifinalists performed Saturday. Two Dubois scholarship recipients now study in the College of Musical Arts. Melton said she…


BGMS teacher inspires students in class and on court

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This was no hum-drum history lesson. This was the story of the Boston Massacre told through hip-hop. Under attack by a mob of angry colonists, the British soldiers shot and killed several men – setting a spark for the American Revolution. This was a history lesson from 1770 set to a 2018 beat by a Bowling Green student inspired by her eighth grade social studies teacher, Mandy Pasley. Pasley, who has taught at Bowling Green Middle School for 19 years, was honored Thursday as an inspirational educator of the year by the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. She played the Boston Massacre recording to the club to show the creativity of her students. “Mandy’s one of our best educators,” Middle School Principal Eric Radabaugh said after Pasley was given her award. “Her passion for students is what drives her to be the best.” But Pasley, who also coaches the varsity volleyball team, passed on all the credit to her parents, her husband, her “kids” at home and in the classroom – but mostly her favorite teachers who left lasting impressions on her life. “I was blessed to have some of the best teachers I’ve ever been around,” she said. Pasley, who grew up in Bowling Green, fondly remembered her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Daly. “She was way ahead of her time,” using problem-based strategies that are popular in today’s classrooms. Some lessons stuck with Pasley, like the day the class made gingerbread men, then arrived at school the following day to find the cookies had disappeared. The students had to solve the clues to find the missing gingerbread men. Then in third grade at Crim Elementary, Mrs. Sullivan was her sweet, kind teacher with very high expectations. “We never wanted to disappoint her,” Pasley recalled. But one day Pasley and her friend did disappoint their teacher, when they wrote a secret note to a boy in their class. Pasley felt horrible, and Mrs. Sullivan knew her young student well enough to know she didn’t need to say a word. “I was already mortified by what I had done,” Pasley said. The next year, Mrs. Simmons in fourth grade shared her love for literacy and reading. She would read aloud to the class every day. “Her storytelling was so amazing and powerful,” Pasley said. In seventh grade English, Mrs. Abel let her students explore, learn and “figure it out on our own.” She often peppered her lessons with current events, making them even more memorable. And in high school, it was Karol Kampe, who was her teacher and coach, and then went on to be her mentor and friend. Kampe taught some powerful lessons in the gym. “She empowered us as female athletes,” Pasley said. Girls were taught to believe in themselves. “We were just…


Photo exhibit at Way Library brings those served by WCBDD into focus

Submittted by PRIZM “Lens on Learning; A Social Documentary of Developmental Disabilities,” a collaborative photography project completed this past year by BGSU students with individuals served by the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, is  on display through February 15 exhibit at The Way Public Library Gallery. The exhibit is presented by the library in collaboration with PRIZM Creative Community. The project not only brought awareness to the BGSU student who were paired with an individual served by the WCBDD and captured their story through photography,  but it helps the community at large to be aware of the community integration program administered by the WCBDD for our disabled citizens.   This five year old program has captured the life of many developmental disabled individuals who live, work and contribute in our community. (See related story http://bgindependentmedia.org/portraits-in-friendships-between-bgsu-student-photographers-wood-lane-individuals-exhibited-at-toledo-museum/) In 1990 the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act addressed the needs of people with disabilities and prohibited discrimination in employment, public services, and public accommodations. Thirty-five years before the ADA, The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, a county agency, began to support and assist Wood County residents with developmental delays in increasing their skills, capabilities and independence. “The camera provides a tangible means to connect with one another and the world,” writes Lynn Whitney, the BGSU professor of photography who directs the senior level Community Projects Class at BGSU. “This class challenges students to forge personal relationships and explore aspects of being human from a vantage different than their own. This year we offered the camera to our partners from Wood Lane allowing us to speak with not just for them. This year, governmental mandates to privatize many key services provided through WCBDD, influenced our seeing to reveal a fuller picture of the lives of individuals so often living and working at the margins.”   The exhibition pieces hung on the gallery walls at The Way Library documents the day to day life of disabled individuals served by WCBDD at home, work, and play as captured through their BGSU Student partner. This year a select number of those served by the program were also mentored by their BGSU friends to learn about photography, and then produced creative pieces with their new knowledge. Those photo pieces created by the disabled individuals were also framed and are on display as part of the “Lens on Learning,” exhibit inside the 3-D showcases on easels. The project inspires each of us to consider what skills we have to offer in mentoring others, and what our social responsibility in the community is.  Those interested in this Social Documentary are welcome to enjoy the exhibit in the downstairs gallery at The Way Public Library, 101 E. Indiana Ave. during normal library hours through February the 15. PRIZM Creative Community is a 501 (c.) (3) Nonprofit organization, which supports education,…