Sampson Center Stage’s Class Acts series continues to be, well, a class act.
It’s educational, it’s entertaining and it’s afforded thousands upon thousands of children — more than 100,000 we are told — with an opportunity to be a part of something special, at not cost. For many of the children in our local school systems experiencing the performing arts wouldn’t have been possible without such a program.
Now in its 18th year, Class Acts is continuing to bring magical and educational experiences to youngsters in grades first through eighth. This year, some 8,000 elementary and middle school students will be able to attend one of eight live performances, educational and fun experiences that will be something they refer to year after year.
From Ray Jordan, executive director of the county’s Agri-Exposition Center and coordinator of Class Acts: “Performances are not only entertaining, they also provide an opportunity for students to learn in a creative atmosphere that adds to and enhances each student’s total educational experience.”
All it takes is visiting one of the eight performances and watching the children to really understand what Jordan refers to. They are mesmerized by the entertainment, soaking in the performances and, when allowed, eagerly hoping to be among those chosen to be active participants.
They are engaged, something educators will tell you is vital to today’s learning environment.
And by virtue of their engagement they are learning even as they are enjoying what, in many ways, seems like nothing more than sheer entertainment.
It’s what makes the performers slated through Class Acts so special. Their talents include teachable moments that have students learning even as they are laughing, tapping to the beat or singing along.
Performances are made possible through the generation, and continued, donations of corporate, business and individual sponsors across Sampson County. Without those so willing to return to others a portion of that which they are blessed to have, programs like Class Acts would not be possible.
And that would be a real shame.
We know businesses and corporations are tapped to the limit sometimes, asked repeatedly to give to myriad worthwhile projects that help to make Sampson a better place for us all. It is hard to pick and choose where to put the financial resources they so generously give.
Among them, we believe, should be Class Acts.
What this program does for the countless young people who have been involved in the series through the years cannot be measured in just one way. But we are convinced, by virtue of the performances, themselves, and the youngsters who have been participants, that this series makes a lasting impression that helps to form open-minded, engaging young people.
Our hat is off to those who initiated the Class Acts series nearly two decades ago and our appreciation continues to be extended to everyone who has offered the financial shot in the arm it takes to ensure this type of learning experience continues in our county year after year.