Topanga Elementary Spring Musical!

By TECS News Team

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Topanga Elementary Spring Musical!
Photo by TECS News Team The cast of Frozen Jr. takes a bow.
The TECS production of Frozen Jr. captivated audiences for two shows in May, held in the TECS auditorium. Topanga Elementary has long been known for its spectacular spring musicals but this beloved tradition was put on hold when the pandemic started. Last year, only fifth graders participated in the musical, as grades were not allowed to mix for rehearsals. The students performed an outdoor concert version of Hamilton at the TCC. It was a great way to keep the tradition alive. “Theatre is an important part of our program at TECS,” remarked Principal Kevin Kassebaum. “My own son Peter tremendously enjoyed being a part of the show last year,” This year, Kristy Beauvais (Director / Choreographer) and daughter Gabbi Beauvais (Musical Director), of FOCUSfish, worked with enthusiastic students on Frozen Jr. As the show approached, masks came on for rehearsals. Kai Knapp was delightful as Anna, and Bo Schmid wowed the audience with her inspired rendition of “Let It Go.” Marlon Zane was a warm and reliable Kristoff, and Kash Dunlap was a charismatic Hans. Winslow Ramos (young Anna) and Maya Rzhanova (young Elsa) moved the audience with their beautiful duets, and the little ones adored Zoe Tashjian's hilarious Olaf. Luisa Penzias. Georgia Pernin and Roma Rodan rocked it as the trolls; Farrah Whittenburg and Coyolli Jimenez brought dignity and presence to their roles as Queen Iduna and King Agnarr. Branson Til evoked laughter as the Duke of Weselton, and Toni Biedrzycki was an inspired and hilarious Oaken. Thanks to her, we all know what "Hygge" is now! Piper O'Connor, Maya Peterson, Luciana Harris, Dylan Nurse, and the whole cast played a multitude of supporting roles including Castle Staff, Townspeople, Oaken's family, the Hidden Folk, and the Snow and Summer Choruses. Kids in the show had a blast. "I'm really happy that they brought the play back to Topanga Elementary! I'm excited to do the play next year too because Kristy and Gabbi are amazing and we're so lucky to have them at this school," said fourth Grader, Zoe Tashjian (Olaf). As always, the play was supported by students, parents, and community volunteers. Fourth Grader Indigo O'Connor was on the stage crew and helped design props. Destiny London did her usual fabulous job with the costumes and had backstage help from former TECS/FOCUSfish students including Lilyana Bath, Oliver Dunlap, Aurora Finetti, Helena Mack, Rachel Specland, and Sahaya, who helped the children with numerous rapid costume changes. Michelle Ramos and Kayt Jones did makeup and hair for the cast. Kelly Constantine, the Stage Manager, also made props and helped build the set. Former TECS parent Jill Williams and parents of the cast donated the concessions and sold tickets and treats with the help of more TECS alumni. Thomas Dalesandro did sound design and Jim Smith did the lighting. FOCUSfish rented costumes and set pieces from Class Act. Indigo and her father, Michael O’Connor helped Kristy and Gabbi with set design and painting. Kristy's husband Paul Beauvais designed the sets and draped the stage with aerial silks. The lighting board was upgraded with support from TEP. The stage has never looked better! In addition to producing the spring musical, FOCUSfish established two new after-school programs: Rising Stars for TK/K/first graders and Theatre Kids for second-fifth graders. Rising Stars and Theatre Kids all performed together in the production of Frozen Jr. After participating in Theatre Kids and the musical, fifth grader Kash Dunlap (Hans) said, “Disneyland? More like theatre is the happiest place on earth!” Congratulations to the cast and crew of the show from all grades/levels of TECS. A heartfelt thanks to FOCUSfish for producing this awesome show. Proceeds from the raffle at the show were donated to Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), the TECS Booster Club that provides funding for many enrichment programs at TECS—Art, Computer class, Science, PE, Instructional Aides and more. TECS Winning Parade Float Congratulations to Topanga Elementary’s first ever Topanga Days float, which took home a first place award at this year’s parade! The “pop-up book”-themed float told the story of education in the canyon with the numbers in Pi, a microscope, a kid-embellished California state flag, a buck head and large stars and butterflies, all flying out of the book’s pages. Contributing to the float’s artwork and execution were 150 students and about 50 parents, teachers and school staff. Nine students from Frozen Jr. rode the float, belting out songs from the show and tossing candy. TECS offers special thanks to Mark Friendship Construction for contributing the trailer and lumber, and to our float’s master builder, Ryan Ramos, dad of Winslow from Frozen Jr. A big thanks from everyone in the TECS community to Andrea Shreeman, mom of third grader Maverick, for spearheading this exhilarating team project! Science at TECS May marked the eighth annual TECS Science Fair! Congratulations to the 54 students who participated and contributed 37 science projects. There was a strong turnout for the evening family viewing event in the school auditorium. Student scientists were enthusiastic and excited, with very creative and interesting projects. The day after the fair there were classroom visits during the school day so all students were inspired by their peers. Dr. Amenta-Shin, who teaches third and fouth grades, helped coordinate the TECS Science Fair. It was also supported by the Science Committee of Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), led by the amazing parent duo of Kent Hill and Alisa Land. The work of the TEP Science Committee extends well beyond the Science Fair, and includes improvements to the TECS campus. With funding through an award from LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the TECS Science Committee engaged local environmental stewardship partners, Greener Empowerment Foundation and Sassafras, to improve the four native habitat gardens on campus. The team of hard-working students and parents weeded, started repairing watering systems, and improved walking paths to the gardens. They uncovered existing swales so that stress on retaining walls due to rains (albeit infrequent) are reduced. Before the end of the year, the team and partners will install tiles to honor project partners, as well as garden maps and individual plant markers to support education about native habitat plants. TEP extends special thanks to Hannah Wear (Greener Empowerment Foundation), Matt Doolin (Topanga Art & Tile), and Pami Ozaki (Sassafras) for their invaluable contributions to this multi‐year project that has connected Topanga Elementary students and families to our broader community in the vision of habitat building. Whether you are a parent at TECS or a community member who believes in the importance of quality public education, there are many ways to support our only public school. TEP donations are tax deductible; any questions, please contact the TEP team at

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JUNE 10, 2022

Topanga Days 2022