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Cape Elementary students bring Gettysburg Address alive

By Staff | May 9, 2011

Five fifth grade students from Cape Coral Elementary School performed a 15-minute Gettysburg Address skit for their fellow classmates Monday morning to further expand on what they are learning in the classroom about the Civil War.
Cape Coral Elementary School speech therapist Bobbi Shanks put out a notice to all of the fifth grade teachers in January to let them know that she would be holding auditions for the play Gettysburg Address. She said she asked the teachers to each provide the names of four of their students who are good readers and have good grades to participate in the play.
An audition was then held, so all of the students could read a few lines to Shanks to be considered for one of the five roles. Once she chose the performers, rehearsals for the play were held in March and April.
Narrator one for the play was Rebeca Michelena, Noah Petitti played the Confederate soldier, the Union soldier was played by Gabriel Maza and Laken Musker was the second narrator. Adis Muhamedagic played the part of Abraham Lincoln.
Before Spring Break, the students began rehearsing on stage in the cafeteria and last week they rehearsed one last time in their costumes.
Although Michelena, Musker and Muhamedagic read their lines Monday morning, the soldiers Petitti and Maza had to memorize theirs for the performance.
Shanks said since the play was based on the students’ reading their lines, she encouraged them to make the words come alive for their audience.
“I thought they did an excellent job,” Shanks said, adding that she was very pleased with how quiet the audience was throughout the performance as well.
Before the play began, Lisa and her son Jacob Curry showcased an authentic Civil War rifle to the fifth grade students, along with providing a demonstration on how it works.
The family treasure, Lisa said has been around since the early to mid 1800s. She said back in the Civil War days it took the soldiers a minute to load their gun for only one shot.
Since a soldier could only load the gun for one use, she told the students that they had to make sure they were very close to their target.
Jacob then provided a demonstration on how the gun was loaded and fired.
Shanks began the play a couple years ago because she wanted to enhance what the students were learning in the classroom about the Civil War.
“It makes them more aware of our country,” she said. “It gives them a live glimpse of America and what has gone on in the past.”
Shanks said since the students had an opportunity to watch the play, it will provide them with another visual when reading their textbooks.
“It makes the history pages come to life,” she said.