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Best of Week 2022-2023: Teaching to the Future


Students in Shelby Dennstedt's "Voices of the Other" class traveled downtown to attend a student matinee of "The Great Leap" at Cleveland Playhouse Square. The Great Leap is a play about a young Chinese teen who is trying to figure out his identity and his connection to others through his passion, basketball. The protagonist, Manford, travels to play basketball for the U.S. team in Beijing during the time of the post-Cultural Revolution era and, more specifically, the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

"In our 'Voices of the Other' class, students read, watch and discuss literature from marginalized groups. Although the tide is turning, much of what students read in their school careers is from the straight, white male perspective. This class was created to allow space for a variety of voices to shine," says Ms. Dennstedt. "While we did not specifically study this era in history that the play takes place in, we are constantly talking about the influence that a society has on an individual. It was a special moment to see our students invested in the performance's story and be able to experience the questions we talk about come to life through theater. The show drove home that stories like these don't just exist in the classroom space. That's the whole point of a field trip - to show a side of others that maybe we don't realize exist in the first place."

"This play connected to our class by clearly showing how cultures can clash. The fact that our class is made up of people from all different backgrounds and cultures made seeing this play a great way to connect with each other and grow as friends and peers," says Sean Krieg '23.

"I enjoyed every aspect of this experience: sharing it with Ms. Dennstedt, getting to know the 'Voices of the Other' students on a deeper level, the powerful nature of the show itself, and the Dewey's pizza to cap it all off," says VP of Faith, Mission and Culture Owen Williams '13. "I think this elective is an awesome opportunity for our students to enter into the experiences of those who have been 'otherized' by our society in some way, and the show not only gave the guys a new experience of going to an afternoon play, but also introduced them to a historical event in a new way. I'm so grateful to Ms. D for inviting me to join, and I look forward to joining in for class more in the future."


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