Mandan News

Mandan Middle school kicks off a drama club

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

When Desiree Dahl, a student at Mandan Middle School, first entered Brenda Haaland’s, a paraprofessional at MMS, office, she knew that she wanted to start a new club. Not really knowing the direction they should move ahead, Haaland suggested an area that was lacking at the middle school; a drama club.

The next step was to find a director, so Haaland turned to her long time friend Ashley Schrenk, who had went to college for theater. Loving the idea, Schrenk agreed to direct, and they moved forward.

Choosing a suitable play to begin with was crucial. Schrenk said that it was necessary to find a play with characters that the students could portray effectively. She also wanted to avoid material that focused on drama, as the students have enough of that.

Instead, they choose a one-act play called “Willabella Witch’s Last Spell,” as it would be fun for all involved.

There was a major hurdle they would have to overcome though before they could kick-off the show. Since the club started in middle of the year, school funding for such groups had already been dealt out.

To overcome this obstacle, the students put on a few fundraisers. For Valentine’s day, the club planned to sell carnations as well as cans of Crush soda. To their surprise, they received a gift themselves when Walmart donated 15 cases of Crush for their cause.

At the end of the fundraiser, the students sold 275 carnations and the 15 donated cases of crush, as well as four additional cases.

There was need for additional fundraising though, but good fortune was one again on the club’s side.

Schrenk, who works at Station West restaurant and bar on Main Street in Mandan, had been discussing the club with her manager when Edgar Oliveira , the owner, overhead and offered to host a fundraiser there. Oliveira had been planning on holding a fundraiser monthly at his restaurant and was excited to help out.

Having a venue in place, they have decided to host an event on Saturday, Feb. 22, with 10 percent of the day’s proceeds going to benefit the drama club.

Throughout this entire process of getting the club started, there has already been a positive effect on all of the students involved. “Kids keep coming up and telling me how excited they are to be in a group which accepts everyone,” said Schrenk. “This has been a chance for them to build some self-esteem, and come out of their shells in a safe environment.”

Their first show is scheduled for the last weekend in April,