High School students tell stories of change at Bonnie Kate

Published 8:33 am Monday, November 11, 2019

Though Thursday evening was dominated by a chilly rain that soaked through everything, those inside were having the time of their lives. Laughter, tears, anxiety, all of it and more were on display, a wide array of human emotion and experience led by the community’s future generation.

Elizabethton High School students gathered at the Bonnie Kate Theater Thursday evening to give performances on moments of change in their lives.

Meg Foster, a theater teacher at EHS, said the class typically does a project similar to this in the classroom, but this was different in scale.

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“I love this space,” Foster said of the theater. “I love seeing it alive with art and performance.”

In a collaboration between Sara Hardin’s Creative Writing Class and her own Beginning and Advanced Drama Class, 10 students told short stories about a period of change in their lives. Scope and expression varied wildly, from the wild adventures of almost running over your best friend over a bag of McDonald’s and sneakily trying to find out what you are getting for Christmas only to get pranked by Santa later, to the more serious stories about medical conditions forcing one girl to leave her sports career behind and an eight-year-old who went through a divorce and was hidden by her birth mother under the guise of a “trip,” not allowed to leave the apartment in which they resided.

“I was a little scared,” junior Brittany Kitchens said about telling that last story. “Everyone knew me as the tough girl.”

These 10 performers were finalists out of roughly 75 students who participated. Judges from Milligan and the Jonesborough Storytelling Center narrowed that list to 15, which then shortened to 10 due to prior commitments.

Each story was at most a few minutes long, so the audience went on a roller coaster of emotions throughout the evening, going from exploding in laughter hearing about a buying a doll that could poop to shaking with anticipation as a girl went on Splash Mountain for the first time.

The evening was also a miniature contest of sorts, with restaurant gift cards and plaques for the top three on the line. Kitchens took home first place.

“It feels great,” Kitchens said. “The community is supportive.”

Foster said it is these kind of experiences she wants her students to remember.

“It is always encouraging,” she said. “It makes us feel valued.”