Acting troupe promotes positive message through skit

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  Clean Teens members Roger Clark, Carson Whitehead, Hannah Bowers and Sadie Buchanan perform as characters from the Wizard of Oz during a skit at Hunter Elementary school on Tuesday morning.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
Clean Teens members Roger Clark, Carson Whitehead, Hannah Bowers and Sadie Buchanan perform as characters from the Wizard of Oz during a skit at Hunter Elementary school on Tuesday morning.

Oftentimes we hear about the negative influence students can have on one other through peer pressure.

But there is a group of students in Carter County who hope to influence their fellow students in a positive way.

The Carter County Clean Teens is a team of students from all four of the county’s high schools who volunteer to travel throughout the school system sharing positive messages and performing for other students. The team is sponsored by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department and School Resource Officers Deputy Tonya Range and Deputy Tracy Pierson serve as the advisors for the group.

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This year’s group includes Arial Hill, senior, Cloudland; Bailey Church, senior, Cloudland; Kendria Street, junior, Hampton; Summer Blevins, senior, Hampton; Adam Williams, senior, Hampton; Roger Clark, senior, Happy Valley; Carson Whitehead, senior, Happy Valley; Hannah Bowers, junior, Happy Valley; Sadie Buchanan, junior, Happy Valley; Kane Phillips, junior, Happy Valley; Joe Oliver, senior, Unaka; Katherine Lewis, senior, Unaka; Sierra Wright, junior, Unaka; Autumn Little, junior, Unaka; and Ashley Doss, junior, Unaka.

On Tuesday, the Clean Teens visited several of the county’s elementary schools to perform skits and inspire the students with positivity as they prepare to take their state assessment tests next week. The group dealt with the subjects of littering and bullying during Tuesday’s school visits.

“This program is dedicated to helping stop litter and keep Carter County beautiful,” CCSD Sgt. Mike Carlock told the students at Hunter Elementary, one of the tour stops for the group.

To help keep their hometown beautiful, Carlock encouraged the students to remember the three “R’s” – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

“How many of you drink soda in a can,” Carlock asked the students and several raised their hands in reply. “If we recycle just one aluminum can we can save enough electricity to power a TV for three hours.”

For their first skit of the program, some of the Clean Teens portrayed characters from the classic story of The Wizard of Oz.

As Dorothy and her friends, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion, followed the yellow brick road on their way to the Emerald City to see the wizard, they ran afoul of the Wicked Witch of the West’s evil flying monkeys.

To try to stop Dorothy and her friends, the flying monkeys littered the yellow brick road with trash to block their way. However, the Wicked Witch and her monkeys weren’t counting on the Clean Teens being nearby to save the day by clearing away the litter.

Eventually the four travelers reached the Emerald City where the wizard granted their wishes.

For the second skit, Andy’s toys, from the popular children’s movie Toy Story, came to life to talk to the students about bullying. While Andy’s playroom may seem like a happy place where the toys all get along, that was not the case during the skit.

Some of the favorite toys – Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and Slinky Dog – decided they didn’t like some of the other toys – like Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head – and didn’t want to play with them or be near them. The popular toys were mean to the other toys and called them names.

But, in the end, with the help of Rex the Tyrannosaurs, the popular toys realized they had been mean and lost friends so they apologized and stopped being bullies.

“Remember, it doesn’t feel good to get picked on, so don’t pick on anyone else,” Carlock told the students. “And, if you see someone being picked on, be a friend to them.”

In addition to the skits, members of the Clean Teens played games with the students and also invited students and staff to join them for a special dance.

The Clean Teens put in a lot of hard work to prepare the performances for the students, Pierson said.

“The students do all of this,” she said. “They write all the skits and come up with the ideas.”

The students also make their own backdrops and costumes with a little help from others. Pierson and Range have worked with the Clean Teens program for the past three years, and Carlock assists the group by providing audio serving as the emcee at the performances.