Jonny Schremmer | September 7 | Cougar Chronicle

Dear New School Families,

Drama class looks and sounds a little different this year, as we’re all a bit more muffled and further spread out. During the first full week of school following a ritual warm-up lesson, I gave the fourth graders a reflection sheet to fill out. With calming music playing over the stage speaker, these young thespians were asked to answer a few simple questions about their body, voice, imagination, concentration and cooperation skills. The final question asked for three things that they learned about themselves. Answers ranged from “I’m more independent than I thought I was,” to “I have a lot of energy.” These answers taught me many things about my small, masked students. Some were surprising; others were just as I expected. And then I came across this little nugget of wisdom:

“Always get gravy.” 

Drama class for this group begins right at 8:30, immediately following breakfast. For this child, the good decision in the dining hall was worth noting to his teacher.

As I smiled, it got me wondering how I would respond to the question: “What are three things you learned about yourself today?” I’ve learned the sweet relief of a mask break and a drink of water. I’ve learned the pleasure of starting each day with fourth graders and ending each day with the yearbook staff. Thanks to Color Week, I’ve learned that I don’t own any yellow clothing. (Blue, on the other hand …)

But most of all, I’ve learned that humor is what’s going to get me through this year.

And speaking of humor … while teaching first graders about Beethoven, Ms. Ashley experienced the momentary crashing of the Internet. In a perfect response for the third week of school, a student joyfully sang: “The Internet Stinks!” to the tune of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Like all good laughter, it relieved stress and lifted the spirits of everyone in the room. Days later, the upper school drama students took a quiz and then watched "Time for Trouble" on the big screen, the original play written and performed by some of these very students two years ago in Drama I class. Toward the end of the play, one character says directly to the audience, “Don't be silly! The only way zombies could come is if an outbreak of contagious disease began spreading." The auditorium erupted into laughter as we looked over our shoulders to be sure we were safe.

What have you learned so far? Whether something new and surprising or just the reminder that gravy makes everything better, this place is full of lessons. As we slide into September, I hope we can keep learning and laughing together, masks and all.


With Cougar Pride,

Jonny Schremmer

The New School Arts Director

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