Students learn value of recycling

Messenger photos by Rachel Scofield
Jill Merryman fastens socks to her daughter Brinley Steen’s ponytails. Steen plays the part of Max the dog in the Reynoldsburg Park and Recreation Department’s production of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The children will present the free play at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15 in the city council chambers.
In the Bexley children’s production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Alec Russo addresses the residents of Whoville from behind his mayoral podium.  He taped a plastic water bottle to the top to use as a microphone.
Adorned with a turkey hat. Taylor Livingston of Reynoldsburg stacks boxes to create a Christmas tree for the set of  Reynoldsburg’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  The set and costumes will incorporate recycled items.  Livingston plays the part of a Food Who.  The children will present the free play at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15 in the city council chambers.

The Cassingham Elementary stage looked like a festive shantytown.

Shiny bows and rainbow ribbons adorned shelters lovingly constructed from cardboard boxes.

Children as young as 3 and as old as 8 scurried amongst the debris searching for empty egg cartons and plastic bottles to tape to their makeshift homes.

After a while, the kids stepped back and praised one another’s ingenuity. Together they had created Whoville for the Bexley Park department’s production of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

The children will perform the free play at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18 in the Cassingham Theater.

Under the direction of teacher Candace Mazer, the students built the set and accessorized their costumes using recyclable materials.

Also under Mazer’s direction, the children of Reynoldsburg Park department’s "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" created their own recycled Whoville.

In the center of the Reynoldsburg set, a tower of boxes form a Christmas tree around which the children will hold hands and sing.

The Reynoldsburg production will be at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 17 in the city council chambers.

Recycling is a lesson Mazer hopes to impart to her students. Recycling reduced her home’s curbside garbage from three cans every week to one can every two weeks.

"Don’t you think when kids get good habits they become better adults?" Mazer asked.

The Grinch seemed the perfect play to convey the message because "he is green."

"I think the Kermit the Frog song ‘It’s not easy being green’ is about recycling, hence it all came together," Mazer said.

If the children have not grasped the concept after completing the set, Mazer said they would when the play is finished. The students will dismantle the set they worked so hard to build and separate the pieces into paper and plastic.

"Recycling means you weren’t done using garbage," 6-year-old Aidan O’Dell of Bexley said. "You make other things out of it or put it in the recycling bin."
After each performance, Mazer’s older students (ages 9-14) will perform "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

Melody Culvert’s children have performed in Mazer’s Reynoldsburg plays for the past three years.

"She is wonderful with kids," Culvert said. "She has an amazing ability to create a controlled chaos. Look at them eating out of her hand. She loves them with every fiber of her being."

"The Grinch" will be the second play for Reynoldsburg kindergartner Brinley Steen.

"It helped her come out of her shyness," said Steen’s mom, Jill Merryman. "She got up there, didn’t get embarrassed and said her lines."

Mazer’s classes are available through the Bexley and Reynoldsburg parks departments at a cost of $49 for residents and $69 for non-residents.

The spring play for the younger children will be "Mr. Popper’s Penguins" and the older children will perform "Sherlock Holmes."

"Drama is the very best way to see kids happy," Mazer said.

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