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Scappoose High School students attend Oregon Shakespeare Festival after community groups help sponsor trip

PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIA EDGE - A group of 21 students in Julia Edges AP literature class attended the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the first time in May during a weekend class trip. Students and staff organized the trip after being inspired by a drama unit being taught in class, and worked to get community sponsorships and donations to help pay for the cost of the trip. Thanks to a series of community fundraisers and partnerships, a group of students from Scappoose High School attended part of an annual festival in southern Oregon earlier this school year.

A group of 21 high school juniors in Julia Edge's AP English class at Scappoose High traveled to Ashland in May to attend the city's annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, after working with community groups to cover the cost of attending the event.

For many students, it was their first time attending the festival.

The idea to go on the trip developed while the students were studying William Shakespeare during a drama unit in the AP literature class earlier in the school year, and Edge tossed out the idea of attending the festival, which is a 300-mile, five-hour drive from Scappoose.

"I don't remember how we came up with the idea," Edge joked. "It was a weird brainstorming, off-the-cuff idea of, hey, wouldn't be cool if we went to the Shakespeare Festival?"

When Edge began looking into it and calculated the costs to attend, she also began looking for community sponsors and fundraising opportunities, and continued to brainstorm with students. The students organized give-back nights at Dairy Queen, sold raffle tickets at the Scappoose Salmon Derby, and were also granted $5,000 in financial support from the Scappoose Boosters, a community group that traditionally donates funds to various Scappoose student programs throughout the school year.

The class raised sufficient money and garnered enough financial support so that each student was able to travel for free.

The students spent three days and two nights in Ashland in mid-May and attended three different Shakespeare plays during the trip — "Destiny

of Desire," "Manahatta" and "Oth ello."

Students Sarah Rosenthal and Hannah Darco, both with backgrounds in school theater, said they especially enjoyed the experience of seeing elements of theater and literature come together on stage.

"My inner drama nerd was kind of coming out when we're seeing the shows. It was cool to see the technical elements they had," Rosenthal said. "On the other hand, it was really interesting because we've been spending all year working with literature and English ... It was interesting to see that writing and literature actually be performed in front of you and how we can pick up on these things, and it made me realize how much I really learned throughout the year."

Students said the trip afforded them the opportunity to interact and bond with their classmates in a new way. Rebekah Glosenger, Hannah Darco, and Brianna Western said they enjoyed getting to form new friendships during the trip.

"I really enjoyed the entire trip, but I think my favorite part was being with other people. I really like getting to form these kind of close relationships and getting to talk with people I really hadn't talked with a ton," Western said. "It was nice to get to talk with people outside of the classroom setting."

Edge said she enjoyed the trip and hopes to take more of her classes to the festival in the future. She also emphasized that the trip was made possible by community partnerships, and without the financial support from community groups, it would have been tough to take a large group of students absent of independent fundraisers.

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