Students from North Kansas City Schools pose in front of the Starlight fountain

Starlight Hosts North Kansas City Schools Program

Starlight recently hosted 400 students from North Kansas Public Schools for a venue tour and career pathway presentation.

The students are part of the College and Career Pathways program at North Kansas City high schools, an innovative approach to transform the high school experience. As freshmen, students can participate in a “school within a school” that is aligned with leading industry sectors, including health, business, technology, design, and human services.

A Look Behind the Curtain

Students toured Starlight Theatre to see behind-the-scenes spaces including the green room, loading docks, the “prop barn,” and the orchestra pit. Public spaces included the seating bowl, concessions, fountains, landscaping, and event spaces.

Presentations followed by Q+A were divided between students in the Public Services and Environmental Science & Sustainability pathways, and students in the Technology, Construction & Engineering, and Creative Design pathways.

Each group met with staff from different areas of Starlight including Production, Programming, Community Engagement, and Philanthropy.

This tour allowed me to see areas I never thought I’d be able to see. It was a dream to be able to ask so many questions and have so many of them answered in detail. Thank you so much for the amazing experience of that trip.

Joey P.

Learning By Doing

At the end of each presentation session, students were able to participate in an introduction to improvisation and a series of games with facilitators from Starlight’s Just Imagine interactive theatre program.

The program reaches some of Kansas City’s most vulnerable residents including children receiving care in hospitals, families in transitional housing, and students in nontraditional settings.

In addition to its performances for students in grades K-3 where students explore building stories and characters through imaginative play and introductory theatre vocabulary, the Just Imagine program also offers an experience for students in grades 4 and up that introduces the concepts of theatre improvisation and the many ways improv skills relate to success in everyday life.

Students participate in an improv activity

In each hour-long workshop, four professional actors lead students through a series of improv exercises that help them explore the core improv concepts of Awareness, Acceptance, and Commitment.

Katherine Tolbert, Community Engagement Manager at Starlight explained how high school students can benefit from a program meant for younger children:

“Not only are these concepts crucial for creating entertaining and engaging scenes on a stage, but they are also vital to students becoming effective communicators, collaborators, and innovators in their personal and professional lives,” she said.

The visit was coordinated in collaboration with the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium which hosted 400 additional students from North Kansas City Public Schools at the same time.

Shannon Shelton, Director, Work-Based Learning for North Kansas City Schools said, “The feedback I received regarding the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. This partnership means the world to us!”

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