The Rolla School Board recognized several exceptional drama students at their most recent meeting on Thursday, Jan. 18. These students recently attended the Missouri Thespian Conference, performing in front of judges and college representatives. Summer school plans were also discussed.

The Rolla School Board recognized several exceptional drama students at their most recent meeting on Thursday, Jan. 18. These students recently attended the Missouri Thespian Conference, performing in front of judges and college representatives.

According to Kelli McNeven, Rolla High School theatre instructor, three of the students were selected as Juniors to audition for different college representatives at the Missouri Thespian Conference. The students were required to submit an audition video, and were selected from Juniors around the state. Only six in total were selected, according to McNeven. Kelly Brown, Aloha Jones and Katherine Conway were the ones selected from Rolla.

According to school board documents from the meeting, this makes these students eligible for scholarships from the colleges represented at the conference.

Several other RHS drama students competed in individual events at the conference. McNeven said they performed in front of a panel of three judges. Two of the groups from RHS received rankings of Superior, which according to McNeven, will allow them to compete at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska in June.

“This is the first time that RHS has qualified any students for the international Festival,” said McNeven in an email.

The groups that qualified were:

Kelly Brown and Payton Pennington performing “True West,” by Sam Shepard.
Tyler Fry, Aloha Jones and Stefan Peddington performing “Fat Pig,” by Neil Labute.

Kelly Brown and Payton Pennington were also selected to perform in a showcase at the end of the state conference, according to McNeven.

“All of our members performed well and provided an excellent representation of the theatre department at RHS,” said McNeven. “I am incredibly proud of all of the students and can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”

The board members themselves were also recognized for their service as part of School Board Recognition Week, which falls on Jan. 22 to Jan. 27.

Craig Hounsom, assistant superintendent, spoke about new dyslexia laws and how RHS will be incorporating them and responding. The Rolla Daily News will be exploring these laws in an upcoming article.

Hounsom gave a second presentation on summer school for 2018, asking the boarding to approve the program so preparations may begin.

According to school board documents, the summer school session “will begin on Monday, June 4 and will conclude on Friday, June 29 for a total of 20 instructional days.”

The elementary and middle school program will consist of one four-hour block each day for a total of 80 hours. The high school will offer two three-hour blocks each day for a total o 120 hours. According to the same documents, course offerings will “be a mix of remedial, exploratory and credit-bearing courses.”

In order to keep the costs at a manageable level, according to Hounsom, a 20 to 1 student to teacher ratio will be the goal for each class. The district will offer student lunch programs at all summer school sites.

Bus transportation will be continued within the city limits in Rolla. This, according to Hounsom, helps reduce traffic problems at the elementary and middle school locations and will allow some students to attend who would not be able to do otherwise. The district does not receive additional state resources to cover transportation expenses during summer school, “except for expenses incurred for special education students,” according to the school board’s documents.

“Assuming no changes in summer school funding occur t the state level, we should be able to provide a summer school program nearly identical to the program we have offered in past year,” wrote Hounsom in his report.