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Peekskill Students Follow The Yellow Brick Road

PEEKSKILL -- Peekskill’s fabled “yellow brick road” once again welcomed Dorothy, the Lion, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Wizard of Oz himself at Oakside Elementary School last week. As a culminating activity for the year, the two second grade dual language classes, taught by Heydi Rodriguez and Alexis Vazquez, presented an entrancing version of L. Frank Baum’s magical story, “El mago de Oz.” “The Wizard of Oz” is a play with many speaking parts – but not quite 41, the number of dual language students in the two classes.

Undaunted, for the seven scenes of the play, the teachers cast seven Dorothys, five tin men (“hombres de hojalata,”) five scarecrows, two Glendas, and two wicked witches. Adding in various munchkins and other Oz residents, every child had a speaking part.

“We could really see how much positive impact that drama had on our students’ language acquisition and understanding,” Vazquez said. The men said the play’s timeless themes translate into language. “The lessons of the characters, helping each other, finding heart, brains, and courage, and taking the challenge of following the yellow brick road – these have been wonderful learning experiences for our students,” said Rodriguez.

Scenery for the show was created by parents Michael Murphy and Liz Lazo and special effects, including a spooky projected Wizard of Oz, were designed by teacher Denise Chavarria. Many parents volunteered their time to make the costumes. “I was absolutely amazed at the very high level of achievement this play represents,” said Oakside Principal Mary Foster. “Everyone worked so hard, especially the students, and the results are just outstanding.”

Singing and dancing down the yellow brick road as Dorothy were Renee Norris, Sheila Arevalo, Maria Patino, Sheila Guiracocha, Lindsey Castro, Ava Cairl, and Marley Lazo-Murphy. Playing the tin men were Jefferson Arpi, Robert Hicks, Cristian Alvarez, Alex Suscal, and Daniela Pavon. The scarecrows were Sage North, Miles Karteron, Matthew Guiacha, Steven Henson, and Andric Illescas. The Glindas were Tanya Merino and Jennifer Torres, and Isabella Lopez and Alisa D’Souza played the wicked witches. Azaria Johnson was a lion, Anastasia Aponte played Toto and Esteban Pauta was the wise wizard. Isabelle Paul was Aunty Em and Cesar Calujay played Uncle Henry.

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