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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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U-Hi Drama ‘Angels’ Present ‘Heaven Can Wait’

The stage is crowded. Scaffolding and students are almost on top of one another. A blackout curtain is pulled just beyond the stage, because at the moment, what would normally be the seating area of this “theater” is a noisy lunch cafeteria.

Some students are carrying in costumes. Others are painting scenery.

University High School drama teacher Mike Welch is delivering encouragement to the players in “Heaven Can Wait,” which opens Friday at 7 p.m.

“I have some good news. Yesterday I chewed on you a little bit,” Welch said. But the tough love apparently worked. By the end of the rehearsal, Welch felt the tingle of emotion that told him the scene in question would work.

“If I was moved - and I see it all the time - that’s a good sign.”

Some people will remember the movie “Heaven Can Wait.” On one level, it’s an amusing concoction about angels who make mistakes and a prize fighter who is taken away from his body 60 years too soon. On another level, it’s about determination, decency and hard work.

Which is just what it takes to put on a play.

One of the most experienced cast members, Joe Cannon, likens the effort of polishing a role to the hard work needed to ace an oral exam. The senior has participated in musicals with the Civic Theatre and Valley Rep.

“You work, you study - and the outcome is an A or a B … or a C, depending on how hard you work,” Cannon said, taking a break from evening rehearsal for his role as Vernon, the head angel.

“Well, it’s the same thing. In order for us to have the pleasure, the rush of an audience respond, we have to study our lines.”

Most of the class has little drama experience. It’s been heartening, Cannon said, to watch the novices grow and improve. Still, “I know from experience that they’ll be pretty nervous” on opening night.

Other performances of “Heaven Can Wait” will be Saturday, and March 5 and 6. All performances start at 7 p.m.

Fourth-grader meets O’Connor

Courtney Rahoi, a fourth-grader at Adams Elementary School, recently got to chat with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

A student in Jan Munson’s class, Courtney had just written a book report on a biography of O’Connor. Plus Courtney had an extra advantage - her mom is a student at Gonzaga Law School. So when Ali Rahoi learned that Justice O’Connor was speaking earlier this month at the University of Idaho, she took her youngest daughter to Moscow for the occasion.

How was the trip? “It was long,” said Courtney.

How was the speech? “It was long.”

After all, federalism, O’Connor’s topic, isn’t easy for a fourth-grader to relate to.

But once Courtney and her mom actually met O’Connor after the speech, they connected. Justice O’Connor told the 10-year-old that she has a granddaughter named Courtney. Also, Courtney’s family is from Alaska, so she perked up when she heard O’Connor talk about her travels there and her memories of fishing and seeing the northern lights.

Nethercutt at U-Hi

U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt launched his second annual STAR essay contest from University High School last week. STAR stands for Students taking Action and Responsibility. This year’s topic is volunteerism. The contest is open to junior and senior high school students across the 5th District. One winner from each age group will earn a trip to Washington, D.C. Deadline to enter is March 27.

Last year, one essay contest winner was from University High School; the other was from Bowdish Junior High School.

WV DECA winners

Fifteen DECA students from West Valley High School have advanced to state competition.

First-place winners in the Spokane-area competition held earlier this month were Tia Gregorak, Kara Foss, Kristin Hammond and Bonnie Kraus.

Other qualifiers were Kari Aquino, Joe Costello, Mike Johnson, Madeline McNeil, Christ Nesbitt, Exana Ivachanco, Anny Monasmith, Brittani Gomer, Sarah Allen, Brandon Frisch and Suzan Forjera.

The state competition takes place next month in Bellevue.

Outstanding in fine arts

Central Valley’s Parent Teacher Organization has named the following students as outstanding in the district-wide annual Reflections contest for the fine arts:

Photography: Kaelee Toth and Devey Thurbe, both of Chester Elementary School; Laura Woodard, Ponderosa Elementary School; and Bryson Toth, Chester. Sean Nowling, Chester; Stephanie Mikelson, Bowdish Junior High; and Dacia Thompson, South Pines Elementary.

Literature: Brittany Oakley, Chester; Hannah Simmons and Kendall Koehler, both of Ponderosa, Rachelle Moore, Greenacres Elementary. Alyse Clacy, Chester; and Suzanne Almeida, University High School.

Visual Arts: Briana Springer, South Pines; Mycah Harrold, Ponderosa. Joy Gulseth, Ponderosa; and Willy Ray, Keystone Elementary. Anthony Perrigo, University Elementary; Cole Escallier, Keystone, and Tana Depew, Greenacres Junior High.

Music: Madison Frame, Ponderosa; Marisa Jones and Jenni Ross, both of Chester; and Jeremy Gering, Greenacres Elementary.

All of these students’ Reflections entries will progress to state competition.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: The Education Notebook is the spot The Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com

The Education Notebook is the spot The Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com

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