Students’patriotic drama praised by veterans
Recently at St. Clare of Assisi school, music teacher Rick Ragan requested something of his seventh-graders. He wanted the kids to write about America’s heritage for the upcoming Memorial Day performance. Two students responded in a huge way, weaving their stories together to create the drama “A Salute to Freedom.”Kyle Werner and Tara Dalbow wrote the script for their classmates to perform during the event. Before the performance, other classes played patriotic tunes for the veterans, parents, staff and students in attendance. Dalbow’s original theme was a soldier heading off to war. Earlier soldiers from her character’s family had been generals and fought for their country; now, it was his turn and he was nervous and reluctant.
But his younger sister talks to him about the different stages of American history and he ends up ready to fight. “It ends with the soldier having pride and wanting to fight for his country,” Dalbow says. Werner’s story came from real life. His mom’s side of the family came to America from Ireland in the 1920s. “We molded the two stories,” Werner says of his and Dalbow’s work. “There was a natural break in the story about immigration, and that’s where mine came in.”Dalbow’s mom, Kathy, directed the drama and Ragan credits her for putting the show together. “These two outstanding seventh graders wrote the script and wove the entire program together,” Ragan says. The school recorded a CD featuring the song “We Love America”, performed by the student body. That CD can be purchased at the school or at Kitchen Collage, located in at Riverwalk in Edwards. Honored veterans received a copy as a gift.
Dalbow lives in Eagle with her parents and two younger brothers, both of whom attend St. Clare’s. She has a history of acting and dancing, so “A Salute to Freedom” came naturally for her. She has danced for the past nine years and has acted in local productions including the “Wizard of Oz” and “Godspell.” Dalbow also performs in the children’s chorale. “Tara is an energetic, excited kid who wants to go way beyond the call of duty,” says Ragan.Ragan says that Werner’s story had to be cut from the original six pages that he submitted. “Kyle is a steady, intellectual kid,” says Ragan, who adds that Werner’s sequence about heritage was remarkable. Werner also lives in Eagle with his parents and younger brother, Ryan. He plays basketball and runs track for Eagle Valley Middle School. Werner’s hobbies also include break dancing.
Staff members at St. Clare’s have received numerous comments and letters from veterans who enjoyed the songs, the performance and the special treatment. Dalbow and Werner also received accolades for their display of patriotism. The two didn’t get extra credit or better grades for the work – so it all came from the heart, Ragan says.”The event wasn’t political, it was patriotic,” he says. “It was very pro-America.”