Junior high students enjoy trip to Shakespearean Festival

Colleen Henry

For The New Era

It is not every day that 90 12- and 13-year-olds pile onto two school buses with 10 chaperones, 115 sack lunches, and hundreds of pounds of overnight gear to head over 200 miles from home for a cultural experience.

But this year’s Winter Achievement Award Trip at Sweet Home Junior High did just that over the weekend of Feb. 29-March 1.

“It’s like organizing a military maneuver,” said trip coordinator and Achievement Award Advisor Colleen Henry. “The idea of moving so many people from point A to point B was a little daunting, but Shakespeare’s worth it.”

Each year the junior high rewards students who have top citizenship marks and academic grades with three Achievement Award trips: a fall community service themed “Sharing Tree” shopping trip to Eugene, a winter “cultural” trip – celebrating Oregon’s many cultural offerings, and the hugely popular spring Silver Creek Falls overnight trip.

“The teachers who organize, raise funds, and donate their time for these trips receive nothing in return and they don’t ask for it. It’s all voluntary. I applaud my staff for the extra effort they go through every year to make these positive things happen for kids,” said Junior High Principal Hal Huschka.

Students attended William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Ashland on Friday, Feb. 29, and a two-hour workshop led by OSF actors and theater educators on Saturday, March, 1, before returning home to Sweet Home.

Founded in 1935, the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival is among the oldest and largest professional non-profit theatres in the nation. Each year the festival presents an eight-and-a-half-month season of 11 plays in three theatres plus numerous ancillary activities, and undertakes an extensive theater education program.

The festival presents more than 780 performances annually with attendance of approximately 400,000.