Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 | 7:32 p.m.
More than 80 students took over the stage at Hayes Elementary School for "Schoolhouse Rock," a play that had educational lessons, singing and dancing all rolled into one.
The November play was the largest production ever at Hayes, which has been open since 1998.
"Our school's PTA, led by Candice O'Connor, supported the purchase of the 'Schoolhouse Rock' copyright license for the performance," said Principal Scott Bailey. "We're pleasantly surprised at the talent that is being drawn from some of our most reserved students."
The cast and crew of first through fifth graders rehearsed for the play since September. The production was the brainchild of music teacher Hillary Zielinski and computer teacher Kristine Moore.
"Schoolhouse Rock" is a high-energy show that uses music and dance to teach children about everything from grammar to science, Moore said. The play included songs such as "Three is a Magic Number" and "I'm Just a Bill."
"It's all about making learning memorable and fun," Moore said. "Kids find it easier to remember things when they have a tune they can sing to."
Approximately 800 students attend Hayes Elementary, and none of the children who auditioned were turned away, but the cast and crew still went through an interview process.
"We asked them how they keep things organized and how they feel about taking instructions from our stage director," she said. "Just seeing how they felt about being involved."
Several parents also volunteered to construct props and a schoolhouse backdrop for the stage.
Zielinski said she was impressed by how quickly the children learned the song and dance routines.
"It takes a lot of confidence to do this in front of your peers," Zielinski said. "You'd be surprised with the first-graders. Some of them are shy, but others are really in tune with what's going on."
"Schoolhouse Rock" brought in approximately 700 guests between its two shows, raising more than $1,400 for the Hayes PTA.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.