St. Charles students act out against bullying
ST. CHARLES — Not every "ever after" ends happily. That’s the message audience members will get when they attend the St. Charles Middle School one-act play "The Ever After," a comical fairy tale about Cinderella and her step-sisters finding some closure years after the events in the famous story.
But lessons on stage are only part of the message these young thespians hope to spread.
"Everyone in the play, all the cast members, are bullied about different stuff," said Harley Dreier, 14, an eighth-grader at St. Charles High School. "There is tons of bullying that people are not aware of."
Juliet Summers, director of the play, said the death of Mantorville’s Rachel Ehmke, who ended her life partly due to bullying, brought the topic to a head for her cast and crew last week in St. Charles. The students, after a long talk about bullying and its effect on their lives, decided to make a stand. That Tuesday, the students took their cause to school counselor Ellen Rollie.
"It was very impressive," Rollie said. "They even questioned their own actions, asking if they were ever guilty of bullying."
Summers said because the play is a one-act, the students call their campaign One Act Can Save A Life. The goal is to raise awareness of bullying and shine a light on the rules that exist in the school against it.
Harley said the first performance, 7 p.m. on May 18 at St. Charles Elementary School, will be dedicated to Rachel. The second performance, 2 p.m. on May 19, also at the elementary school auditorium, will be dedicated to the student’s anti-bullying stance.
"Some of us knew (Rachel)," Harley said. "Some of us were upset and angry about what happened to her. That’s when we came up with the idea of doing something for bullying."