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HomeNewsArchivesFrom 'At Risk' to On Stage: Achiever's Program Staging Original Play

From 'At Risk' to On Stage: Achiever's Program Staging Original Play

March 26, 2008 — Trying to make a difference in her community, Officer Lisa Samuel has taken 33 of Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School's at-risk students under her wing and turned them into achievers.
Samuel started the Achiever's Program two and a half years ago after joining the V.I. Police Department's school security unit. The program works to help students deal with issues such as low self-esteem, conflict resolution and anger management. Noticing high levels of violence in the school system — and gang activity in neighborhoods surrounding the school — Samuel said she developed the program to give the students a positive role model and to "let them know that someone cares about them."
"The program started with 33 students, many of whom were being disrespectful in school, cutting classes, that sort of thing," Samuel said. "After joining the program, everything has changed: My kids are going to class, getting better grades and are staying away from fights. I wanted to teach the students about respect, the consequences of violence. And I wanted to give them a clear path as they graduate from eighth grade and move onto high school."
Unable to fund many of the program's activities, Samuel has teamed up with local playwright Jessica Henderson Lima on a production that she hopes will raise enough money to take students graduating with a 70 percent or higher average grade on a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.
The play, called "A Missed Opportunity," highlights various issues facing today's youth, including teen pregnancy, drug abuse and relationships.
"This play is the first script I ever wrote — it initially was just two pages," Lima said. "After Officer Samuel came to me and asked me to write a play for her group, I expanded it and turned it into something more contemporary, about the issues young people are facing. It's about a young man who's talking to his friends about God and how he's going to turn his life around."
Samuel and the members of the Achiever's Program will also hold a fund raiser Saturday at the Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas.
The play is scheduled to open May 10 at the BCB auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults and $12 at the door. Ticket locations will be announced later.
"Come out and support the play," Samuel said. "It will be really amazing, and I think everyone will really enjoy seeing what these students have been up to."
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March 26, 2008 -- Trying to make a difference in her community, Officer Lisa Samuel has taken 33 of Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School's at-risk students under her wing and turned them into achievers.
Samuel started the Achiever's Program two and a half years ago after joining the V.I. Police Department's school security unit. The program works to help students deal with issues such as low self-esteem, conflict resolution and anger management. Noticing high levels of violence in the school system -- and gang activity in neighborhoods surrounding the school -- Samuel said she developed the program to give the students a positive role model and to "let them know that someone cares about them."
"The program started with 33 students, many of whom were being disrespectful in school, cutting classes, that sort of thing," Samuel said. "After joining the program, everything has changed: My kids are going to class, getting better grades and are staying away from fights. I wanted to teach the students about respect, the consequences of violence. And I wanted to give them a clear path as they graduate from eighth grade and move onto high school."
Unable to fund many of the program's activities, Samuel has teamed up with local playwright Jessica Henderson Lima on a production that she hopes will raise enough money to take students graduating with a 70 percent or higher average grade on a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.
The play, called "A Missed Opportunity," highlights various issues facing today's youth, including teen pregnancy, drug abuse and relationships.
"This play is the first script I ever wrote -- it initially was just two pages," Lima said. "After Officer Samuel came to me and asked me to write a play for her group, I expanded it and turned it into something more contemporary, about the issues young people are facing. It's about a young man who's talking to his friends about God and how he's going to turn his life around."
Samuel and the members of the Achiever's Program will also hold a fund raiser Saturday at the Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas.
The play is scheduled to open May 10 at the BCB auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults and $12 at the door. Ticket locations will be announced later.
"Come out and support the play," Samuel said. "It will be really amazing, and I think everyone will really enjoy seeing what these students have been up to."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.