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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It's a Small World After All

Monday, January 17, 2005

A worldly Diversity Day opportunity coming to Storm Lake

CommUNITY Education and Storm Lake High School invite the public to join in Diversity Day VII to be held at the High School on Wednesday, February 2. This is an all-day event created fourteen years ago to celebrate the diversity of Storm Lake life.

The day's events begin at 8:30 a.m. with a touch of music and drama, as the University of Iowa World Percussion Ensemble pounds out a worldly backbeat, and the S.O.S. Players present the Opening Assembly with creative skits addressing issues such as acceptance and values.

Participants are then invited to choose from a variety of informative and entertaining hour-long presentations throughout the day - everything from "Life Under Saddam" to "Origami." Sessions begin at 10, 11, noon, and 1.

The closing assembly, 2-3 p.m. in the gym, features Ballet Folklorical Mexico Hermanos Avilia with Mexican, Atzek and Mayan folk dances in an array of colorful attire.

Hungry for a taste of the world? Check out the Food Fair/International Festival from 11 a.m.-1:55 p.m. Various ethnic foods ranging in price from 50 cents to $2 will be available.

Participants may come and go throughout the day as their schedule allows, and there is no charge for the presentations.

Mike Hannah, Storm Lake High School Principal said, "Diversity Day goes back to 1991 when the foreign language department had a food fair and dances. About that same time, diversity was changing at our high school and Diversity Day really picked up after that."

Today, all aspects of diversity are touched upon using a variety of local individuals as well as performers from outside the area to offer a wider perspective of diversity.

The community is encouraged to attend Diversity Day, expressed Hanna. "It is great to get community members involved. It allows students, older adults and other community members to get together. It is a way to mix up the generations."

The S.O.S. Players from the Twin Cities return to Storm Lake as a teen acting troupe which travels to perform shows on social issues that affect young people today. Their message is that of hope and positive decision-making, accomplished through the medium of prevention theatre.

The SOS Players are trained peer counselors age 15-18, enhancing the lives of youth through the arts. The acting troupe's primary goal is to promote individual responsibility and demonstrate the power that each person has to determine their future by the choices they make today. "Our objective is to leave our audience feeling hopeful and empowered," one member said.

Skits Outreach Services, Inc. (S.O.S.) was founded in 1990 by June Erdman, who wanted to take teen acting to another level. The sketches have been continually rewritten and revised to target current social trends and issues. S.O.S. now has three full shows and travels throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, North Dakota and Vermont.

Originally 20 kids working in the basement of businesses, S.O.S. Players is now 40 actors strong, performing 125-175 shows per year and are the proud owners of their very own home - the Fourth Street Playhouse.

The CLIMB Theater will also perform, with innovative lessons to prevent violence, bullying, substance abuse and discrimination.

Other entertainers on hand include The Kids on the Block, a puppet theatre spreading understanding for the disables, bagpipe player Archie McKay, accordion player/vocalist "Barefoot Becky," BCIG Improv, dance instructors Dan and Brenda Anderson, and a variety of our own diverse local talent. Even some of Iowa State University's top athletes will get involved.

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