I’ve written about Stagecraft before, but I couldn’t resist this story, which has College Prep stamped all over it. Charles Neifeld has taught stagecraft here for sixteen years and for the last eight years his students have built a playhouse and donated it to a local school. This year Charles re-connected with Sarah Sugarman (Class of ’98) who teaches at an Oakland public elementary school, Monarch Academy, and arranged for the playhouse to be donated there.
As an aside, one of Sarah’s former teachers at College Prep, the legendary and retiring English teacher John Faggi (more on him in an upcoming post), spent time in Sarah’s classroom earlier this year. After the visit, he made an impassioned speech at assembly about the experience of visiting Sarah and another former student who is now an artist. His theme was that not all Prep students go on the become (in the words of Malvina Reynolds) “doctors and lawyers, and business executives.” College Prep students are so often outwardly focused and go on to do great things in their communities. Sarah, after graduating from College Prep and Brown University, became a public school teacher in her hometown of Oakland.
On the day of delivery, the College Prep students who built the playhouse disassembled it and loaded it in pieces on Charles’ truck. It took almost two hours to reassemble the playhouse when they arrived at Monarch Academy. During this time, junior Edgar C. visited with Sarah’s students and talked with them about the process of building the playhouse from scratch. The students cut the wood, learned how to use power tools, and even painted the playhouse in Monarch’s school colors. More and more Monarch students came out to the courtyard to watch the assembly, and when it was all done, they started playing in it immediately!
Enjoy the video below, which details some of the process.