'Christmas Carol' Tradition Continues for Local Students

Shelbyville Middle School students pose for a photo after viewing "A Christmas Carol" at the IRT last week.

Attending live theater is always an experience, and more so, as Shelbyville Middle School seventh graders learned last week, when it involves over 300 classmates and multiple buses traveling to downtown Indianapolis. The entire grade, including Life Skills students, piled into eight buses Thursday for the annual excursion to the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre.

“The trip in itself is a unique experience,” Mrs. Rachel Hutchinson said. She is the primary organizer and has brought her students all 13 years she has been with the school corporation. Students of Mrs. Paige Wise and Mr. Kristiaan Rawlings also attend. “It is so amazing to hear all the students get excited as we drive into Indy and see the big buildings and Lucas Oil Stadium,” Hutchinson said.

Kobe Rosales, a seventh grader, concurred. “On the ride, I got to hang out with friends who I don’t normally see daily.”

Although students either read the play or Charles Dickens’s original text beforehand, seeing the production is an enlightening experience.

“My favorite part was the opening scene,” Stormie Bolden said. “I loved how everyone gasped when (the actors) came from a trap door. That scene stuck out to me most because it really brought out Scrooge’s character.”

The kids were divided on which they enjoyed more, the book or the performance, and some took the middle option.

“The experience of reading the book in class before really helped me understand the play because a lot of it was exactly the same as the book,” Jayda Powell said.

Camden Thoman agreed, noting that many of the familiar words and phrases - including “Bah, humbug!” - appear in both.

The Cohen Education Fund covered approximately two-thirds of the cost, with students paying $5 each. Many students later wrote letters to Mr. Alan and Mrs. Linda Cohen, thanking them for the opportunity and including their favorite parts of the performance.

“After reading ‘A Christmas Carol’, I wanted the play to be Broadway material, and it met the expectations,” Natalya Morales-Schumate said.

Mrs. Hutchinson noted that Dickens’s classic continues to inspire kindness and generosity.

“I think these lessons will continue to help our kids reflect on their own lives and encourage them to be better people by lifting others around them,” she said. “Charles Dickens once said, ‘Nobody is worthless who lightens the burdens of others.’ If the kids can learn this one thing from this story, I feel like it is a success.”

This Day in Shelby County History

2013: Lewis Surber celebrated his 100th birthday with a party given by his nieces, which included a cake decorated with a photo of Lewis as Jelly Bean the Clown. Lewis had served in the U.S. Army during World War II and had been a member of the Masonic Lodge for 75 years. He was also a deacon at Flat Rock Christian Church.

2003: Local grocers reported that the new Walmart had, indeed, cut into sales. Mickey's T-Mart faced a double-whammy of more competition and re-doing its parking lot, manager Brian Meeke told The Shelbyville News. J.R. Cooper, owner of Western Supermarket, said his west side location helped lessen the blow somewhat. Doc Cummins, manager at Marsh, said he thought Walmart's store layout was "too big."

1993: Shelbyville High School alumnus and Ball State University volleyball player Sharon Knecht played a key role in the Cardinals clinching their first-ever outright MAC conference championship. Ball State was 22-4 overall and 16-0 in the conference.

1983: Awards Unlimited, 46 E. Washington St., added screen printing to its lines of available services. In other business news, H&H Zenith Sales & Service moved into the former Paul's Shoes building, 12 Public Square.

1973: Local Boy Scouts received awards for Fall Roundup membership goals. Awarded coffee mugs for recruiting efforts were Cubmasters Ed Heichelbeck, Richard Matlock, Howard Talbert, Mike Herbertz and James Arbuckle and Scoutmaster Ray Sears.

1963: Bob's Marathon dumped Carthage, the Grain Dealers whipped Kelley Wiring and Red Mills pasted Rural Youth in the first night of City Basketball League action, held at the National Guard Armory. Ray Anspaugh and Sonny Schnipple were high scorers for Bob's. Frank Mullen scored 15 for the Grain Dealers. Doug Lowes and Carl Tillison scored 22 and 20, respectively, for Red Mills, while Stan Sutton scored 19 for Rural Youth.

1953: Shelby County had five entries in the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago: John Fox, David Lux, Jerry Joe Lux, Victor Lux and Maurice Lux. Shelby County's Charles Fischer, a three-time winner of the world corn king title, was a judge.

1943: A traveling war display was housed at the National Guard Armory. Highlighting the display was a Bazooka, "which has proven successful in smashing every type of enemy tank and pill box," The Shelbyville Republican said. Also on display were Indiana-produced M3 sub-machine guns, which could be fired either from the hip or from the shoulder and fired 450 shots per minute. The display was held to encourage the purchase of war bonds.

1933: Manufacturing operations resumed in the Hodell furniture factory, which had been idle for several months. Joseph Hamilton was heading up the reorganization effort. The reorganized company employed 15 men.

1923: Carl and Morris Griffith, brothers who lived on McKenzie St., paid a $1 fine for charges of intoxication. The men had been drinking denatured alcohol outside the Shelbyville Desk Co. on S. Noble St. Morris had to be carried by deputies to the jail.