Fox Hills Elementary Brings Thrills to Legacy House
By Jessica Thompson
Taylorsville - We all know children love Halloween, but did you know it’s become a favorite holiday for seniors at Legacy House in Taylorsville? On Oct. 27, students at Fox Hills Elementary brought joy and laughter to men and women at Legacy House through the thrills of a good Halloween melodramatic play titled “The Forest of Mystery and Magic.”
Fox Hills Elementary School has a longstanding partnership with the Legacy House facility. The staff members from both the elementary school and Legacy House have seen many social benefits from student interaction with the residents.
“The students love to bring joy to the people who live at Legacy House Apartments, especially since a lot them can’t get out to see such things on their own. The performance trips to Legacy House are always full of positive energy and fun,” Heidi Hatch, third grade teacher, said.
The students’ melodramatic play is an original script written by third grade teacher Heidi Hatch. It told the story of the three main characters, a damsel in distress named Bianca the Witch, the hero Ramses the Vampire and the evil villain Jack the Fire Sprite. The story revolves around a freezing wand that Ramses gave Bianca for her birthday. In true villain fashion, Jack the Fire Sprite steals the wand and causes trouble as he freezes the poor citizens of the Forest of Mystery and Magic. Ramses follows the pumpkin lanterns to find Jack and unfreeze Bianca.
Children performed this play in true melodramatic form with cheering, hissing and sighing. Forty-five students played all the parts, ran the stage and performed the acts of the show.
“The first time I went to Legacy I was scared, because I’ve never been around a lot of old people. But, I have more fun each time we go because I see people I saw before and recognize. They are so nice and they are so excited to see what we are learning. They always say to me ‘Yeah! It’s you again,’” Courtney, a student who has been involved in the last four performance trips to Legacy House, said.
The seniors at Legacy House really got into the spirit of the play. Since a melodramatic play encourages interaction between audience members and the cast, there was a lot of participation from the residents throughout the show. Hatch remembers one lady in particular who sat front and center and provided a lot of energy for the performances because she was so engaged and entertained.
“At the meet and greet after the show, most of the students flocked to her as they had made the connection during their performance and felt that she was having a great time,” Hatch said.
The event was full of moments where the children and youth had a moment of connection. When Igor, played by a 5th grader, entered the back of the audience, he growled at the seniors sitting near the aisles. When he growled, one of the women sitting in the audience squealed. After the show she came up to the boy and gave him a big hug. She let him know that he was her favorite character and that she watched him closely the rest of the show just in case he tried to scare her again.
“The trips to Legacy House allow our children to interact and perform for our friends and neighbors. We feel much pleasure in watching the excitement that travels between the students and the residents each time we get to perform on these trips,” Hatch said. “This community outreach allows our students to have life-enriching interactions with the seniors as well as provide a little bit of “kid interaction” to the residents.”
After every performance, the students participate in a meet-and-greet where the students are encouraged to introduce themselves to three seniors in the audience. This is a great opportunity for youth to have interaction with older adults. The seniors are usually full of stories and are willing to answer questions for the youth.
Fox Hills Elementary’s performance was not just a great opportunity for youth to practice sharing their talents, but was a chance for children to reach out and bring happiness to others. In return, the children gain a deep love and respect for their new older adult friends.
“It is always a joy to watch the students use and develop their talents. They never cease to amaze us and make us laugh as they take a show from audition to performance. They bring so much character to their parts and learn so much in their performance process that we are grateful that we get to share their gifts with others at the Legacy House,” Hatch said