The seats at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center were filled to capacity as students from across the county took part in the annual Class Acts Sampson CenterStage Series.
Over the past 18 years, more than 100,000 students have been positively impacted by the series through performances presented in partnership with the local school systems and provided free-of-charge through the generous financial contributions of many individuals, businesses and corporate sponsors from across Sampson County. Since the inception of Class Acts, supporters have contributed over $500,000 to fund the series.
“Class Acts performances expose our students to new cultures and they examine history and foster creative thinking,” Ray Jordan, executive director of the Sampson County Exposition Center, said. “The students are exposed to something different and offered a different point of view, and their way of thinking is challenged in a fun and entertaining way.”
According to Jordan, the performances are not only entertaining, but they also provide students with an opportunity to learn in a creative atmosphere that adds to and enhances each student’s overall educational experiences.
During this year’s performances, over 8,000 students and teachers were able to experience the magic and excitement of attending one of eight live performing arts events right here at home in Sampson County. Students in grades first through eighth attended the shows.
“It’s important that our students are offered different opportunities like those that Class Acts provides,” Jordan said. “Not only are the shows fun, they are very educational. When choosing the performances we present, we always examine the curriculum connections to insure that each performance aligns with each grade levels course of study.”
According to Jordan, teachers are provided study guides prior to each performance, which are designed to educate students as well as to enhance the theater-going experience of each student.
Performances address many subject areas such as math, literature, reading, music, art, character education, science and social studies.
“Class Acts allows the students this experience close to home with no cost to the student,” Jordan added. “Every student is able to attend.”
Performances are made possible through the generous financial support of corporate, business, and individual sponsors from across Sampson County. Kermit Williamson, Sampson County Exposition Center Board member stated
“Many of the students from across Sampson County would not have the opportunity to attend these type performances if it were not for this series,” Kermit Williamson, Exposition Center Board member stated. “These types of events are often not possible due to the lack of funding provided for the arts in our school systems. The series adds an additional opportunity for our children, who are tomorrow’s leaders.”
At the end of each Class Acts season, Jordan said the students are encouraged to write thank you notes to the sponsors.
“This means a lot to us and to our sponsors,” Jordan said. “It helps us greatly in our ongoing fundraising efforts, especially when a sponsor receives a note that shows the impact a particular performance may have had upon a student.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.