Michiana elementary students learn through Shakespeare

Author: WNDU - TV

As seen on December 8, 2014 on WNDU - TV - http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Michiana-elementary-students-learn-through-Shakespeare-285082881.html

By Kate Chappell

SOUTH BEND Hundreds of students in South Bend are learning self-confidence and language skills from a 16th century playwright. The Robinson Shakespeare Company is an after school program made possible from a grant through the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County.

Director ChristyBurgess works with more than 400 students weekly in 22 classes. One of those is an after school program at Mussel Primary Center. Nearly a dozen students memorized lines and put on a scene from Romeo and Juliet for their classmates.

"We think it's great for the other students to see these young people as mentors and leaders doing something like Shakespeare," said Burgess.

“It was amazing to see these young people take ownership of Shakespeare. And their passion is what amazed me. They might have been nervous to get up, but they weren't self-conscious. They were nervous they might forget a word, but they were completely uninhibited and so passionate in performing performing," Burgess continued.

This is the 3rd year students have the chance to work with Shakespeare at a young age. Muessel’s principal says the group of students who participate is small but powerful.

"They really get involved with it and another cool thing is they really understand the language. So, the things that they're saying and about the insults they're giving back then, the kids get it. So it's really cool to kind of see," said Michael Budzinski, the principal at Muessel. 

This is the last year for the Community Foundation grant, so Burgess and her team at the Robinson Center are looking for other funding sources to continue the program in the future. For more information about The Robinson Shakespeare Company click here.