Saturday December 15, 2012

DOVER -- A local teacher has won a grant for a holiday production.

"Every spring we already did a primary cultural studies culmination," said first-grade teacher Crystal Griswold. "It was one of the passions I already had -- to do plays with young children."

Dover School Principal Bill Anton had seen information about applying for a Macy’s Holiday Production grant and forwarded it to Griswold. The application was submitted in July and by mid-September, Griswold had heard that she had won.

She was one out of 100 schools across the nation that won a $1,000 grant towards making "Yes, Virginia."

It is a story based on "Miracle on 34th Street." A little girl in New York City has friends who no longer believe in Santa Claus. She writes a letter to the newspaper. Then, the newspaper answers her letter and reminds the city to believe in the spirit of Christmas.

"It’s about believing in it even though you can’t see it or touch it. Sharing and caring -- that’s the message I’m really delivering to the kids. It’s not about Santa in the being or gifts. It’s about being with the people you love and having a belief in something."

Macy’s has made the play available, royalty-free, for schools that have won the grant.

Griswold was required to tell Macy’s how she incorporates drama into the school.

"Last year, we did a European Extravaganza," she said.

It was a spring time play with a "big night of feasting, artwork and music.


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The rules for the grant said that the production had to be between Nov. 20 and Jan. 1. Griswold started working on it in October.

"Kids started practicing their parts, building scenery and creating backdrops. They started to organize costumes and pieces then learned the story line."

The play will be performed at the Dover School on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 5:30 p.m.. The community is invited to attend and admission is free.

Griswold is in her sixth year of working for the Dover School. She started out working as a pre-school teacher then transferred to the first grade five years ago.

Although this is her fourth play being done at the school, this is the first holiday production. Usually, the plays are done during the spring time.

"The most rewarding part of the play is seeing how the kids are just blossoming and looking forward to this program. They’re really pitching in and helping."

Griswold told the Reformer that Dover School will be having a special visitor the night of the performance.

Anyone who comes is asked to bring in a non-perishable food item. Donations are going to be brought to the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.