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The Wonderous Journey of Anpao

JCMS sixth graders create drama to bring Indian legends to life

by: Photo By Susan Matheny - Ko-ko-mik-e-is (Katrina Greene) welcomes Anpao (Jerome Stanley), as the Moon, Sun and Swan Girl (Maria Carranza, Kyle Macias, and Giselle Reynoso) watch over them. The student's storyboard served as a backdrop for the play.


   An enraptured audience watched as sixth-graders in Shane Horton's class at Jefferson County Middle School acted out a fantastical hour-long play they wrote and created costumes and scenery for based on the book "Anpao" by Jamake Highwater.
   A collection of Native American legends woven into one story, "Anpao" is the tale of the Odyssey-like adventures of the Indian youth Anpao and his interactions with supernatural beings and people-like animals.
   Horton said he used the "storyline" method of teaching for the project in which the students read the book, study about character, setting and plot, and then design a an artistic storyboard to serve as the backdrop for their play.
   During the play, the narrators moved a paper figure of Anpao across the storyboard to help illustrate his journey. Students also wrote and illustrated journals, logging their responses to different parts of the story, their favorite character and what they learned.
   The play is also a romance and story of self-discovery. Anpao is in love with the beautiful maiden Ko-ko-mik-e-is, who says she will only marry him if he gets a Harry Potter-like scar removed from his forehead.
   Anpao sets out to rescue his twin brother from the fearsome Moon, and is helped along the way by Grandmother Swan, Swan Girl, Coyote, and many other creatures.
   Grandmother Swan tells him he is the son of an earth woman and the mighty Sun, and he must find his father to get the scar removed.
   In a twist at the end of the story, Anpao becomes "The first person where the power of the sun, moon and earth were united," the narrator informs us.
   On Saturday, the students held a cast party celebration at Kah-Nee-Ta (through grant funds) and this week were slated to present their play to all the other sixth grade classrooms at JCMS.
   Cast members included: Jerome Stanley as Anpao, Katrina Greene as Ko-ko-mik-e-is, Kyle Macias as the Sun, Maria Carranza as the Moon; supported by Nieman Adams Jackson, Ashley Bradshaw, John Brown, Sarah Brown, Christopher Fisk, Tyler Foster, Cyril Frank, Samuel Garcia Covian, Laura Garcia, Diana Gonzalez Celestino, Victor Harrizon Oregon, Cori Jackson, Kyle Johnson, Dawn Pike, Dionne Polk, Lindsey Reeves, Giselle Reynoso, Thijmen Samayoa, Robert Shirtcliff Jr., Emily Taylor, Miguel Vasquez, and Ashley Welden.