'Lion King' Leaves Lasting Impression On Center For Success Students

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One could still hear the excitement in their voices as Center for Success students Anita Meggitt and Jerika Zimmerman spoke of how a human being could act out grass in Disney's "The Lion King." Zimmerman stood to demonstrate with her hands just above her head, the grass headpiece worn by an actor in the Lion King. Then she swayed, showing how the actor moved to make the grass sway in the wind.

About 30 Center for Success students were chaperoned to Gammage Auditorium in Phoenix last weekend to see the renowned Broadway musical.

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Disney's ‘The Lion King' plays at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, through March 6. Tickets --riced from $20 to $125 --re available at Ticketmaster.com, or by logging onto www.asugammage.com.

"We can give them opportunities to learn what they need to know as an adult, something else that they can ascribe to... a different quality of entertainment, living and art," teacher Nancy Mullikin said.

A few of the students found the opening scene so breathtaking that they actually cried.

"The singing was amazing ... The whole music score was so cool," Maria Romero said. "The music had so much emotion in it."

Anthony Puskaric left the theater with an admiration for creativity of the mechanical production.

"We had to watch a video before we went on how they didn't hide any of the mechanisms on how they made stuff move. You noticed the mechanisms, but they made them look like just part of the show."

"I think one of the biggest things is we get to learn how to act in public; theater etiquette, that sort of thing," Anita Meggitt said.

"This is the best show I have seen," she said. "There weren't a lot of set pieces ... most of it was done with humans from the plants to the rocks. It relates to all different ages. A little kid could enjoy it just as much as an adult. It was beautiful."

In August, Meggitt will be attending the School for Film and Television in New York.

Jerika Zimmerman was especially impressed with the costuming. Her favorite costume was the giraffe.

"The guy was on stilts and he was bent over ... and he had his hands on stilts and he had a big giraffe head on. He looked so real. You could hardly even tell it was a person."

With the musical replaying in the memories, the students must now write a formal report to get their "menu" credit, which is a credit granted for educational programs outside the mainstream of class work.

"Events like ‘The Lion King' are extension activities which just don't fit into the traditional curriculum," Mullikin said.

Credit for Kids is used to finance most of the cost of activities like this. The kids had to pay $15 of their own money to go.

Just before Christmas, Center for Success students went to see "A Christmas Carol" and had a fine dining experience. They were given etiquette lessons on how to conduct themselves when the table service is linens, crystal and silver rather than paper napkins and formica. They dressed up in suits and gowns.

Their next field trip will be to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

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