The cast of Del Mar Middle School's 'Seussical' includes, from left: front row, Eliza Ray; second row, Strat Tolmie, Caroline Brock, Richard Cherry LaBourene, Kate Golson, Will Tolmie, Maddy Gordon and Anthony Bell; and top row, standing, Nina Stypulkoski, Ellie Bishop, Catherine Hackett, Sophie Ashtiani, Arabella Petrini, Calla McBride and Chloe Bishop.
ELLIOT KARLAN / FOR THE ARK
|Take a trip to Whoville with
'Seussical Jr.' at Del Mar School
By JEFF DEMPSEY
A whirlwind of activity and noise surround Strat Tolmie and Anthony Bell on a recent April day, but the Del Mar Middle School students are deep in concentration. They are on stage in the school's multipurpose room practicing lines and choreography for "Seussical Jr.," Del Mar's take on "Seussical," a musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss with emphasis on "Horton Hears a Who!" in which an elephant tries to protect the tiny inhabitants of Whoville.
"We're Wickersham brothers," says Strat. "Monkeys. We're kind of a gang of thugs that beats up Horton and takes his clover."
The play runs April 27-30 with four performances by two casts. The "Green Eggs" cast will perform April 27-28, and the "Ham" cast will perform April 29-30.
After several months of preparation, both Strat, an eighth-grader, and Anthony, a seventh-grader, say they're excited to hit the stage.
"I've pretty much done all the plays since Bel Aire (Elementary School), so since the third grade, and (the best part is) probably the performances," Anthony says. "There is so much adrenaline and happiness going around."
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State report: Student vaccination rates on the rise under new law
The proportion of Marin kindergartners who received their required vaccines rose from 88.5 percent in the 2015-2016 school year to 93.2 percent this year — edging into the 92-94 percent range that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is needed for herd immunity.
However, medical exemptions rocketed from 0.2 percent to 2.1 percent of county kindergartners, an increase that county officials say they'll be investigating.
Statewide, the kindergarten vaccination rate is 95.6 percent, up from 92.8 percent last school year. The state's medical-exemption rate jumped from 0.2 percent to 0.5 percent.
The results — posted April 12 by the California Department of Public Health as part of its annual immunization assessment — reflect tougher rules under state Senate Bill 277, implemented this school year. The bill abolished the personal-belief exemption and legally requires students be vaccinated for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; polio; measles, mumps and rubella; hepatitis B; and chickenpox to attend child care or to enroll in school for the first time, as well as to enter kindergarten or seventh grade, the two checkpoint grades for vaccination requirements.
"The law has been critical, but this increase is also due to the collective efforts of the schools, medical providers and concerned parents who have promoted protecting our community and advocated for this law," Dr. Grant Colfax, director of Marin Health and Human Services, said in a press release. "More children in Marin are now safe from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines are one of most effective public achievements of all time and protect everyone, but especially those who are medically vulnerable."
School-by-school data have not yet been released. A complete report examining rates at local schools will appear in a future edition of The Ark.
For more information on immunization requirements, visit shotsforschool.org.
— Kevin Hessel
Is your school or class hosting a special event or project? Do you think a student or teacher deserves special recognition for activities inside or outside the classroom? Let The Ark know by contacting education and youth reporter Jeff Dempsey at email@example.com.