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Pound Ridge Students Find Inner Playwrights

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Perhaps the next Rodgers and Hart or Arthur Miller is lurking among the student body of the Pound Ridge Elementary School.

Last week, six of the school’s students were chosen to have the stories they wrote produced and performed by the Story Pirates. While it might not be Broadway, it’s a start.

The Story Pirates are a national education and media organization founded in 2003 to celebrate the words and ideas of young people, according to their website. They are best known for their Play/Write Program.

Sponsored by the Reading Committee of the Pound Ridge Elementary (PRES) PTA, the group made the first of two visits to the school on Jan. 17 where they met with students in all grade levels. The Story Pirates held a creative writing workshop led by the group’s teaching artists. The students wrote stories, six of which were to chosen to be performed by the pirates when they returned to the school last Thursday.

“We chose one story from each grade,” said Story Pirate Peter NcNerney. “We got a lot of submissions. We were worried we wouldn’t get as many because we have less of a presence in rural schools, but the response was outstanding.”

Pound Ridge Elementary School Librarian Rina Baldo said the idea to enlist the Story Pirates came from a parent whose son had seen the pirates perform.

“We looked into them and decided to use some of our funds (to bring them to the school),” Baldo said.

The PTA usually brings in two authors each year to speak to the students, but they liked the idea of the Story Pirates so much, they decided to bring in just one author and spend the rest of the funds on them.

“The workshop in January was really good,” said Karen Getz, co-chair of the reading committee. “The kids loved it. (The Story Pirates) were really funny.”

On Thursday, the students packed the school’s gym in eager anticipation to see which stories would be chosen for production. The students whose stories were picked were kept in the dark right up to curtain time. The burgeoning new playwrights were Ellie O’Brien (kindergarten), Liam Parker (first grade), Michael DeBono (second grade), Jordan Daglio (third grade), Evan Goggin (fourth grade) and Zachary Brand (fifth grade).

The stories ranged from titles such as “Fancy and the Lunch Box” and “Beach Ball Joe” – the latter of which was the story of the title character and New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks trying to win a prize at a carnival. The Story Pirates wrote the accompanying music and song lyrics.

While it might not have been “Cats” or “The Lion King,” judging by the reaction of the young audience, every performance was worthy of a Tony award.

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