Branchville Elementary School partners with Prospector Theater

Branchville Elementary School celebrated differences and overcoming challenges last month when it forged a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the Prospector Theater and its employees —or Prospects as they are known. An in-school assembly helped show second, third and fifth grade students how, despite challenges or disabilities, everyone can find their “sparkle,” or way to shine.

Mike “Munchie” Santini, the lead Prospect presenter, taught the students how perspectives and labels can limit the way we see the world.

Students learned how a typical classroom pencil, as one example, can be so much more. It can be a drumstick, used as nonstandard measuring stick or made into a rocket ship.

Following the assembly, students discussed and wrote reflections about the experience.

A second grader in Mrs. Silverfarb’s class wrote, “One thing I learned was everyone can sparkle even if you are different. Everyone can have a rise and fall and get back up again. Everyone is special in their own way and that makes the world a better place to be.”

As part of the partnership, Branchville fifth graders visited the Prospector Theater to get a “behind-the-screens look at the exciting and unique opportunities and productions at the theater,” a press release said. Prospects showed how they provide adaptive technology for moviegoers who are deaf, hearing impaired, blind, visually impaired, use a wheelchair, or have other challenges.

Fifth graders heard the stories of how Prospects came to follow “their sparkle.” They also learned about and discussed the significance of the sculptures and artwork throughout the theater.

“The initiatives that the students participated in with the Prospector Theater team this month represent the start of a wonderful partnership. The students are writing questions and comments to the Prospects and look forward to their reply in video and writing,” said Keith Margolus, Branchville’s principal. “We are so grateful to the Prospects for teaming with us to show our students that all of us have a special sparkle not in spite of – but because of – our differences.”

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