For Immediate Release
Date: April 12, 2024

Michael
O'Day
Public Affairs Officer

706-715-9683

New Drama Program at Fort Knox MHS

Program offers community unique opportunity to collaborate, enhance education.

New drama program offers Fort Knox community unique opportunity to collaborate, enhance education.

People often hear the phrase "it takes a village” when describing raising children and preparing them for their future. At Fort Knox Middle High School (FKMHS), truer words have never been spoken, especially when it comes to their newly established drama program. Since its inception, students, parents, and many others have been working together hand-in-glove to build a program that uniquely combines community and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) education. 

Peter Watt began his DoDEA career in 2012 but took a drama teaching position at FKMHS in August 2023. Watt leads the coordination effort that has the school buzzing with excitement about the new drama program. “Drama is such an interesting area of study because although it may appear only as an artistic program, it actually requires students to learn science, technology, engineering, and math, too,” said Watt. “Students engineer and measure for set development, use lighting and sound effects, and learn about all that goes into producing a show,” added Watt.
The opportunity to collaborate with parents is another element that makes the drama program so uncommon compared to typical classes. Without parent volunteers, it would be extremely difficult to produce high-quality shows. “Our students do an amazing job, but there are so many behind-the-scenes things that our parents do, it’s impossible to name them all,” said Watt. “It’s rare that parents get to be so involved in the educational experience, partnering with us on set and costume design, construction and more.”

Parents Kyla Sikorski, Trista Gleason, and Val Zamora volunteered countless hours for the school’s inaugural production of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” which premiered in December 2023, and they have continued to be highly involved in the program.

Gleason, who has two children in the program and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Production, appreciates the opportunity to share her passion with her children and all the students in the program.

New drama program offers Fort Knox community unique opportunity to collaborate, enhance education.

“Students participate in hands-on projects in the physics classroom, and then they get to apply those lessons to life size projects in the drama productions,” said Gleason. “Exploring the design process … from reading a script, to making sketches, making a model, constructing, and painting … gives students opportunities to apply the lessons from their English and Art classes in a very hands-on way,” she added. 

Gleason also emphasized the people skills students learn in the drama club.

“I think the drama productions give students the opportunity to be part of a team … similar to a sport,” said Gleason. “Students have learned about seeking excellence while also making the team feel appreciated, and I hope this program will prepare them to work with a team in any field in the professional world.”

About a thousand guests attended the program’s December show, and it generated a little more than $5,000 in revenue. While $5,000 may seem like a lot of revenue, it does not account for set construction materials, fabric for costumes, or renting and buying light and sound equipment, according to Watt, who has additional plans for revenue raised at the performances. “I’d really like to generate enough revenue to take the class to the Kentucky Thespian Festival or similar events where they can continue to grow their passion for drama,” said Watt.

In January, Watt gleaned ideas from students and parents for which musical to bring to FKMHS and the Fort Knox Community this Spring. Watt selected “Once Upon a Mattress” and the team has been busy rehearsing and building ever since. Full dress rehearsals will begin in the coming weeks ahead of two scheduled performances. The show is a silly version of the famous “Princess and the Pea” story. It revolves around a domineering queen, a non-speaking king, and their ‘bride less’ son, Prince Dauntless. When ‘Winifred the Woebegone’ comes to the kingdom, the queen has met her match and magic ensues!

Shows are scheduled Mothers’ Day weekend at the Olive Theater: Friday, May 10 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets will go on sale at Fort Knox Middle High School April 16 for $14.

New drama program offers Fort Knox community unique opportunity to collaborate, enhance education.
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