Creativity Blooms Under the Oaks

By TECS News Team

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Creativity Blooms Under the Oaks
Co-producers Stephanie Polansky (left) and Danita Menchell (right) with TECS principal Kevin Kassebaum (center).
Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS) students showcased their blossoming talents under the magnificent oaks at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum last month.
Darla Menchell opened the show with a beautiful performance of ‘Over the Rainbow’
The school’s third annual Variety Show displayed the creativity of students from Topanga Elementary, while raising funds to support enrichment education at the school. This year’s theme was the classic film, “The Wizard Of Oz,” and the show proved to be a huge source of joy for all involved and a real highlight of the school year.

Dozens of children had rehearsed for months ahead of their performances. And the event featured some grown-up special guests too, including several teachers and parents playing their part, and witty commentary from emcee Stacie Burrows, a talented local comedian, who expertly held the audience’s attention between acts with her unique take on the beloved story.

First grader Stason Geer, the great grandson of Theatricum Botanicum’s founder, Will Geer, performed on the magical stage.
Aerial silk artists Hayley Welch (L) and Zoe Tashjan (R) mesmerize the sold-out crowd.
“The show featured over 20 acts including singing, dancing, magic, comedy, aerial arts, piano, violin, science and so much more,” said Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) chair Stephanie Polansky.

“The stage was transformed into the land of Oz, and every student and parent clearly enjoyed each performance. They were all excited to see our principal, Kevin Kassebaum, come out as the Tin Man alongside our science teacher Jeffrey Esparza as the Scarecrow. From beginning to end, the show was a marathon of entertainment.”

First grader Mina Ronen was part of a glittering fashion show
First grade twins Vicky and Sacha Mangul impressed with their musical recital
Griffin Nelson Thomas wowed the audience with his energetic Spiderman performance
The event sold out the entire iconic theater, with proceeds helping to fund the enrichment education coordinated by the TECS booster club, Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), including the school’s specialist science and art teachers, class aides, and physical education and technology classes.

Polansky, who co-produced the event with fellow TECS mom Danita Menchell, added, “The show is a shining example of what is possible when a community comes together to support its local children’s education. The dedication, creativity, and talent of the students was truly inspiring, leaving the audience eager for next year’s show.

“Thank you to all the parents who donated, cheered from the audience, or volunteered their time and energy. You are the backbone of our school community and we could not have pulled off this incredible event without your help.”
Science teacher Jeffrey Esparza brings some hair-raising excitement to the event
Comedian Stacie Burrows emceed the show as the wicked — and very witty — witch

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