President’s Day at NCS
Right before our nation celebrated President’s Day in February, Newark Christian School (NCS) celebrated by presenting short biographical monologues of past presidents to an audience of younger students. Middle school students spend several weeks researching, writing scripts, editing, reviewing others’ scripts, and practicing their presentations in preparation for the official event. When you know your audience is going to have an average age of 8, information has to be presented differently than if you were trying to impress your principal or the other teachers. Thus props, sound effects, and audience participation become a vital part of the presentation process.
Along with dying on stage, both from old age and assassination, middle schoolers grabbed the attention of younger students using a mirage of entertaining intros and scenes. One student ate jelly beans while working, another paced as they awaited news of their presidential election, one gardened, while another flaunted his picture on currency, all before a different student recruited the audience as members of the military service. We ate peanuts with Jimmy Carter and longed to go hiking with Theodore Roosevelt. The 20 students presenting each worked to share important information about their leader and the world he lived in when he served our nation as chief executive.
Through the process of researching, we learned about our own personalities as researchers and presenters. Some love the drama, while others prefer reading about it. We all came to realize that the challenges facing the president vary from year to year and person to person, but every president struggled in some capacity. They came from a variety of places, worked to meet their goals through education and experience, rejoiced at the own achievements and the progress of the nation while also suffering, both personally and with the nation, through dark times.
The project further encouraged us to pray for our current president and the state of our nation. As citizens in a diverse world with many kinds of leaders, we wondered when there will be a president with Hispanic heritage or when a woman will join the ranks among the men who have served at the top of the Executive Branch. Ultimately, we look forward to the return of the King and his perfect reign as the ultimate leader.
Read more from Faith Watts.