Osher Hosts Oral History Class About Working Life

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/18/2018 8:26:54 AM
Modified: 12/18/2018 8:26:59 AM

During its production of the Revolutionary War musical 1776 last spring, the We the People Project invited audiences after each performance to join a conversation with the actors and with the theater company’s producers about the perils and responsibilities of democracy.

During the run-up to next spring’s musical adaptation of Working, journalist Studs Terkel’s groundbreaking collection of oral histories, the theater group is offering a course on how to lead people to share their life experiences.

On Wednesday mornings from Jan. 16 to Feb. 27, We the People founder Perry Allison and three other company stalwarts will teach a course called “Honoring the Work,” through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth. The goal is for students to learn to collect oral histories, conduct interviews with fellow students or community members and then present their observations during the talk-back sessions that will follow the performances.

“In some capacity, everyone works,” Allison, an actor and director who lives in Thetford, said recently. “And the work they do gives their life meaning. While we have many ideas for topics, our plan is to reach out to the community to find out what questions would make for compelling conversations.”

Joining Allison to teach the course are Lyme resident and veteran playwright-actor-director-producer Faith Catlin, Norwich resident and We the People outreach coordinator Katie Kitchel and Memory Apata, a Lebanon resident who sang and acted in 1776 , and is librarian of music and performing arts at Dartmouth College.

As a complement to the Osher class, Apata said, in January she will lead a series of weekly sing-ins at Baker Library in which “we will be exploring protest songs related to differing types of work and discussing the issues these songs raise.”

Allison said that the Osher class’ topics can range from the debate over the minimum wage and what constitutes a “living” wage, to the reasons for income disparities and the effects of technology on changing the landscape of work.

“The list goes on and on,” Allison said. “There are plenty of thoughtful people in our region who can help us illuminate these topics. At the heart of what the play sets out to do is the notion of honoring the work that we do … whether it be the cleaning person, the dog walker, the surgeon, the caregiver for an aging parent, the waitress or waiter at our favorite local restaurants.”

To register for “Honoring the Work,” and to learn more, visit osher.dartmouth.edu/courses. Tuition costs $80, and Osher membership is required. The We the People Project will stage Workingfrom March 1 to 17 at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. For tickets ($13 to $30) and more information, visit wethepeopletheatre.com.

A Sense of Where You Are

Weathersfield School eighth-grader Zed McNaughton is in the running to compete at the Vermont contest of the National Geographic Bee, after outlasting seven students he competed against in the school’s recent geography bee.

McNaughton and seventh-grader Dory Hindinger faced off in the championship round, after emerging from a playoff that included eighth-graders Brody Perham and Skylar Thibodeau, seventh graders Olivia Magliola, Tori McNamara and Ryan Page and sixth-grader Brooke Hindinger.

McNaughton now will take a qualifying test online in pursuit of a berth in the Vermont finals. The winner of the state competition, on March 29, qualifies for the national championship in Washington, D.C., in May.

Musical Honor Rolls

With his winning performance at the New Hampshire finals for young pianists, Hanover High School junior Stephen Wang qualified to represent the Granite State at the Eastern Division championships of the Music Teachers National Association competition.

Wang won the New Hampshire title for the fourth year in a row; he has finished as high as second at the Eastern competition. A victory at this year’s regional competition, which includes the top pianists from 12 states, would qualify him for the national finals in Spokane, Wash., in March

Service Academies

Three Upper Valley high school seniors are in the running for berths at U.S. service academies, following nominations by U.S. Rep. Annie Custer, D-N.H.

Kuster nominated Hanover’s Griffin Johnson and Cornish Flat’s Justin P. Smith to the Naval Academy, and Hanover’s John Lynch to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Screen Time

Eighth-graders at Lebanon Middle School will show short documentaries they filmed, inspired by the school’s core values of motivation, perseverance, integrity and excellence, during a public presentation at the school on Thursday night.

Language-arts teacher Brendan Armstrong oversaw the annual documentary project, through a collaboration with the nonprofit World Story Exchange. Between screenings at 6 and 7:30, there will be a break for refreshments and for remarks by students.

Collegiate Recognition

Hanover resident Sophia Roggerson was recently inducted into the College of William and Mary’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Roggerson is a senior at the Williamsburg, Va., school.

High School Honors

Citing his blend of academic rigor, social support for fellow students and his leadership of the Diversity Club, the faculty at Lebanon High School has named senior Hunter Dadmun as its student of the month for December.

Community Service

Canaan resident Ching Wing Cheng recently participated, with classmates from Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute, in a research project in Boston’s Maritime Industrial Areas. The team came up with proposals for mixed-use development in designated port areas of Boston’s inner harbor. Cheng, a sophomore majoring in computer science, was the salutatorian of the class of 2016 at Mascoma Valley Regional High School.

■ Thetford Academy junior Shelby Varley recently joined the Vermont Youth Advisory Council, a 16-member panel that advocates for the state’s young people.

■ With fellow classmates and professors from Lasell College, Windsor resident Matthias Vollmer spent two weeks in Tanzania last summer teaching reading, comprehension and conversational English to elementary- and middle-school-age children. The Lasell delegation also learned Swahili in order to lead workshops with the village’s population, as part of the college’s Shoulder-to-Shoulder service-learning program. Vollmer is majoring in fashion and retail merchandising at the Newton, Mass., school.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304. Education news can be sent to schoolnotes@vnews.com.

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