The annual musical is a treasured tradition at Herculaneum High School, but without the budget to purchase rights to the musical, it almost wasn’t possible. But, as they say in theater, “the show must go on.” With the support of the Arts and Education Fund for Teachers, the students at Herculaneum High School were able to put on “James and the Giant Peach” this spring. The production provided a sense of community for the students involved. Their involvement was even more meaningful since it had been more than a year since the last time they had performed for an audience.

A student who performed in “James and the Giant Peach” shared, “I deeply enjoyed this production, and I am very thankful for being able to put it on for everyone. It was a very positive and fun experience from day one until the final show. I really hope that more students can have the opportunity to put on a production and be a part of such a positive experience.”

Sara Giambalvo, the choir and theater teacher at Herculaneum High School, noticed the positive impact the production had on her students. She even shared that being part of the production improved some of the students’ mental health.

“They formed an incredible bond and support system through rehearsals that will last for years,” said Sara Giambalvo. “They encouraged each other and lifted each other up and this has shown during choir class, as well.”

“The musical was a perfect fit for our theatre program! Our students brought to life the story of James and his new family with their dedication, ambition, and creativity! They did not shy away from the difficult songs or choreography and never gave up when faced with a challenge,” added the assistant director. “I am so glad we chose ‘James and the Giant Peach’ to showcase our talented students, both on and off the stage!” 

The Arts and Education Fund for Teachers supports arts education programs for K-12 teachers in Missouri and Illinois. Through this support, educators and community members are exposed to the benefits of arts education – further building support for arts education in our region.

Applications for the 2021-22 Arts and Education Fund for Teachers are open through Sept. 10.

The Arts and Education Fund for Teachers supports educational projects, with grants ranging between $500 and $5,000, that link art with curriculum to enhance students’ learning. Grants will be made only for projects that take place in the St. Louis bi-state area (Missouri Counties: Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis City and County, Warren and Washington. Illinois Counties: Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair).

To apply, click here.

To keep meaningful arts experiences happening for students throughout the bi-state region, make a gift to the Arts and Education Council today.

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