Off to See the Wizard!

We’re off to see the Wizard at Dickison Elementary in the Compton Unified School District! In late November, fourth and fifth grade Think Together students transformed themselves into Toto, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and Glinda the Good Witch to perform their blended rendition of the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz and its 1978 reimagining, The Wiz. Long before the curtains could open, students, teachers, families and Think Together staff were hard at work preparing for the show. 

At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, Ms. Gales, the program leader of the fourth and fifth grade group shared with the Think Together team about productions she had managed with students at Dickison in the past. The Think Together team and students loved the idea and started envisioning their first performance. 

Visual and performing arts give students the opportunity for self-expression, teamwork, risk-taking, concentration, creativity, and fun. Each student, from the lead actor to the backstage crew, prepared, developed themselves, overcame their nerves and put on a stunning performance for their families, teachers and classmates. For many of the students, this was the first time performing or participating in a play.  

Ease on Down the Road

Starting in October, the group of 25 students picked their roles and began preparation. Program leader and play manager Ms. Gales worked with the students every day after school to memorize lines, understand the play, and work on their stage acting skills! 

Alongside the rehearsals, Think Together students learned the ins and outs of storytelling and performance. The Think Together team hosted open discussions about the play at the students’ snack time. Students in every grade learned about the different parts of a story, how to identify main and secondary characters, and the many roles involved with putting on a performance. 

Working alongside Ms. Gales, site coordinator Ms. Mone’t gathered costumes, set pieces, and volunteers from the school and community to transform Dickison Elementary’s multi-purpose room into the wonderful land of Oz. Ms. Mone’t, reflecting on their work after the performance, said “I was so excited for them. It was a big commitment, but they came each day prepared to rehearse. I was really impressed with them.”  

Families also worked with their children to memorize their lines and give them the courage they needed to play their part and “ease on down the road.” 

We’re Off to See the Wiz! 

On the day of the performance, parent volunteers, Dickison Elementary staff, and Think Together team members worked on the finishing touches. Ms. Mone’t worked closely with the school staff to guide the student stage crew while one of the parent volunteers gave each cast member stage makeup to fully get into their part! 

The Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion, Glinda, Wicked Witch of the West, citizens of Oz, Crows, Munchkins, Dorothy and even Toto were ready to make their debut! 

Breaking through their apprehension, students delivered their lines, hit their marks, and felt all their hard work pay off as the audience broke out into applause. Ms. Gales was so proud of all the students and how much they had grown from the experience. “The kids grew so much in their ability to articulate. They also learned the importance of working as a whole to make sure that their performance was great and to motivate not only themselves but also their peers” she shared after the performance. 

Stay Tuned! 

While the curtains may have come to a close on this production, the Think Together program at Dickison plans to put on an entire set of performances with the other students. Coming up next for the Think Together program at Dickison Elementary is a rendition of Rainbow Fish presented by the Kinder through second grade students as well as The Lorax by the third and fourth grade students. We are so excited to see what these performers shine! 

As a whole, Think Together is excited to leverage the renewed funding for the Visual and Performing Arts in our programs across California.