|Guest Artists (left to right): Devlin Elliott, Nathan Lane, Bryce Pinkham, Eden Duncan-Smith, Mary Testa, Stockard Channing, Elizabeth Ward Land, Hollie Wright, Treshelle Edmond, Jeremiah Maestas and Michael Urie|
My little literacy and arts program welcomes some huge talent again this year with a diverse group of generous guest artists sharing their time and talents in both spoken English and American Sign Language.
I've also selected the books for the readings (pending guest artist approval) so that frees up a great deal of time to focus on instruction rather than searching for titles and agonizing over book orders once the school year kicks off.
In the first year of the program each student in first grade got 7 high-quality, beautifully written and illustrated children's books to take home and enjoy. This was possible because of donations from The Louis Valentino, Jr. Memorial Fund, our Parent Association and an educational award from the "47" Alumni Association of the Deaf. Their support continues this year and I couldn't be more thankful.
It amazes me to witness the embrace the program is receiving from the New York City theater community. Year Three, which doesn't begin until October 2017, already has performers scheduled to participate (I am keeping them secret, for now).
Broadway Books First Class also inspired an extension program with students in Grades 6 - 12 called Broadway Books Upper Class with Kori Rushton of IRT Theater. And other teachers have written to me this summer to discuss starting a program like this in their schools with different members of the community, such as sports figures.
This year I hope to invite the students from 2nd grade to join us for visits from returning guests Hollie Wright and Eden Duncan-Smith. Both Hollie and Eden have established bonds with those students and I know the kids will be excited to see them again.
Perhaps I'll call those visits Broadway Books First (and Second) Class.
Thank you Devlin Elliott, Nathan Lane, Bryce Pinkham, Eden Duncan-Smith, Mary Testa, Stockard Channing, Elizabeth Ward Land, Hollie Wright, Treshelle Edmond, Jeremiah Maestas and Michael Urie for saying, "Yes, count me in".