HHS students help the HMS students: ‘School of Rock’ musical


Mya Schwartz and Jonathon Tinkler

‘School of Rock’ set in the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

     Walking into the doors of the Performing Arts Center (PAC), the lights dimmed, the crowd was hushed, the curtains were drawn open, and there is Highlands Theater Director and Drama Teacher Jason Burgess stands up on stage to introduce the new musical. 

     As the new year begins, high school and middle school students are working hard to produce the upcoming musical, ‘The School of Rock,’ which is based on the popular Jack Black movie version. 

     The musical is about a failed rockstar, Dewey Finn (Eighth-grader Gabe McDermott) who is down on his luck after being kicked out of his old band. Finn sets out on a quest to find a way to make money, due to his roommate’s girlfriend, Patty Di Marco (Eighth-grader Nellie Albritton) is demanding Dewey pay them back rent. Therefore he pretends to be his roommate, Ned Schneebly, a substitute teacher (Eighth-grader Harrison Schultz). He poses as his roommate in order to get a job at an illustrious private school, known as Horace Green Prep. Needing a band for the upcoming “Battle of the Bands” competition, Finn decides to convert his students into his next Rock Band in secret. 

     “We did this because last year we did a ‘Good Man Charlie Brown’ and I don’t want to say it was kiddy but it was in the middle of COVID-19 and a good light production and this year we wanted to be more rock with the music and come back strong,” said Burgess.

     For this musical, practices all have different time slots. Each role has their own time to go and work on what they need to do for the day, and each practice can vary from 1 – 4 hours. 

     HHS students are a big help with this year’s production. Since most of the students here at the HHS have been in drama for years now, they decided to use their attributes to contribute to the musical and help Highlands Middle School students. 

     Freshman Peyton Pope explained why she decided to help. 

     “I have always loved theatre, and the middle school showed us [that] we could give what we received through all our years.”

     HHS students helping out HMS students can be good for both sides. All grades can learn and have a good outcome out of it.

     According to eighth-grader Norah Shadwell, working with the HHS students has impacted her in many ways,

     “They are nice and someone to look up to, they make you feel confident and hype you up.”

     According to multiple HMS students,  the HHS students are a great addition and help to the play, as they teach new strategies and give them a confidence boost. 

     Many of them are like teachers to the HMS students and can help them become better actors than they were at that age. 

     Overall, the HHS Bluebirds act as some great coaches who will lead the HMS students to be great actors, which will definitely show in the upcoming musical, ‘School of Rock.’ 

     ‘School of Rock’ will be performed from January 27-30.