by Lisa Krueger
College Place, Wash., February 5, 2013 - Every year, first and second grade students in Tonya Wessman’s class learn lines, scripture verses, and songs in preparation for performing Bible stories at area churches. In November 2012, her 21 students went to the University and Eastgate churches in the Walla Walla Valley to share the story about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three men who braved the fiery furnace during Daniel’s time. Besides acting out the story, they memorized and recited Mark 8:34-36 and sang the song “Dare to be a Daniel.”
“When we practice and perform these plays, the students internalize the lesson so much more than if we just read it,” says Wessman. “They also love sharing what they have learned about God with others.”
In past years, Wessman’s students have performed plays about David and Goliath, “Joan (a.k.a. Jonah) and the Big Fish,” “The Lost Sheep,” and “Daniel and the Tattletales.” In the spring, her students will be performing the play “The Ten Bridesmaids.”
In addition to performing Bible dramas, Rogers students at all grade levels are active in sharing their talents with the community, going to area retirement homes to sing and play piano and strings. Students are also involved with many other mission-oriented activities, such as raising money through bake sales for victims of Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy, putting together Christmas gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child through the organization Samaritan’s Purse, and bringing cans of food to help local food banks.
“We encourage our students to share their talents whenever and wherever they can,” says Rogers School principal Clare Thompson. “Through these opportunities, our students can further develop their speaking and musical abilities, as well as learn empathy for people in other situations and how they can play an important role in spreading God’s love.”