Very Dumb Kids

CCM Presents Free Workshop Production of Gracie Gardner’s ‘Very Dumb Kids’

Gracie Gardner

New York playwright Gracie Gardner, commissioned to write ‘Very Dumb Kids.’

CCM’s Studio Series comes to a dramatic conclusion with a workshop production of Very Dumb Kids (formerly titled The Great Majority) by rising New York playwright Gracie Gardner. We invite you to join us Thursday, April 21 – Saturday, April 23 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater for a sneak-peek at this developing drama, which is part of CCM’s new play commissioning initiative. Assistant Professor of Drama Brant Russell directs.

One of the perks of producing a work-in-progress play is observing it evolve over time. Since its genesis, the title of this play has changed from The Great Majority to Very Dumb Kids. According to Gardner, she referred to the production as “the play about the very dumb kids” for quite some time, so this title change was a natural result of the creative process.

This action-packed drama tells the tale of an adventurous woman named Sarah who is tragically murdered while working as a correspondent in New Delhi. While Sarah was busy confronting the world, her college friends sat calmly at home in the U.S., streaming TV shows on the internet and peddling their esoteric skill sets. One year after her funeral, Sarah’s friends meet for their annual Fourth of July reunion.

The play explores entitlement and its effects are on the disenfranchised as well as the privileged in the millennial era. How can we live responsibly in an irresponsible universe?

Very Dumb Kids is the inaugural production of CCM Drama’s new play-commissioning initiative, which focuses on plays that speak to the unique experience of being young in America. The plays, written for and about our students, will enrapture a new generation of artists and audiences. They will go on to be produced by educational institutions and professional theatre companies all over the country to expand CCM’s reach and reputation as a preeminent institution for the performing arts. And you will be able to say you were there when it all started!

We invite you to join us April 21-23 for the workshop production of Very Dumb Kids and ask you to return next year for the full production!

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, April 21
  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 22
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 23

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Reserving Tickets
Admission to Very Dumb Kids is free but reservations are required.

Tickets become available at noon on Monday, April 18. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

Parking and Directions

Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/park for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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 CCM Season Presenting Sponsor & Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Drama Studio Series Sponsor: Neil Artman and Margaret Straub

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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

CCM News
CCM's Class of 2015 in Drama.

CCM Drama Holds Annual Senior Showcase and Dolly Awards on March 27

CCM’s Department of Drama presents its annual Senior Showcase at 2 and 7 p.m. on Friday, March 27, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. The 13th annual DOLLY Awards Ceremony follows the 7 p.m. showcase performance. These events are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

CCM's Class of 2015 in Drama.

CCM’s Class of 2015 in Drama.

The showcase performance will consist of a variety of scenes by graduating seniors in CCM’s Drama program, demonstrating the depth and breadth of the acting skills they have honed during their undergraduate training at CCM. The Senior Showcase will be the first presentation of a performance that the students will be taking on the road to exhibit their talent in New York and Los Angeles in April. You can learn more about the Drama Class of 2015 by visiting ccm.uc.edu/theatre/drama/seniorshowcase.

Hosted by Richard E. Hess, CCM’s A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance, the Annual CCM Drama DOLLY Awards recognize outstanding achievement and performance by students in the Department of Drama. Awards are given for Excellence in Performance and Excellence in Ensemble Performance from the 2014-15 CCM Drama season, which included the productions TRANSMIGRATION 2014, Living Dead in DenmarkMacbethSpeech and Debate and The Heidi Chronicles.

The evening will also include tributes to CCM faculty members Diane Kvapil and R. Terrell Finney, both of whom will retire at the end of the semester. A faculty member since 1977, Professor Kvapil received the Acclaim Award for Outstanding Theatre Educator in 2011. A faculty member since 1983, Professor Finney currently serves as CCM’s Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies. He is also currently serving as president of the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

CCM alumnus Keith Pillow.

CCM alumnus Keith Pillow.

The highlight of the ceremony will be the presentation of the 2015 Julia Winter Cohen Career Excellence Award to a graduate of CCM Drama. This year’s honoree is Keith Pillow, CCM Drama class of 1989. An accomplished film and television actor, Pillow has had recurring roles on Judging AmyThe ShieldThe Sarah Connor ChroniclesAwkward and Pretty Little Liars. He has made guest appearances on The MentalistGleeThe GoldbergsLaw & Order L.A.TheCloserNip/TuckHot in Cleveland24CSICold CaseThe Young and the RestlessGeneral Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful, to name but a few. A classically trained singer and actor, Pillow is also very much at home on the stage. His credits include the Broadway touring company of Show Boat, the role of Pontius Pilate in the European tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, the role of Hud in the European tour of Hair and the role of Jim in the national tour of Big River. He was also featured at the prestigious Theater des Westens in Berlin as Jacob in La Cage aux Folles, and in productions of My Fair LadyAnything Goes and Evita. In addition to his television and stage credits, Pillow has appeared in over 20 national and regional commercials and numerous films.

About Diane Kvapil

CCM Associate Professor of Drama Diane Kvapil.

CCM Associate Professor of Drama Diane Kvapil.

Diane L. Kvapil studied at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City with Sanford Meisner. She joined CCM’s faculty in 1977 and currently serves as Associate Professor of Drama. Kvapil has directed several notable productions during her time at CCM, including Trojan Woman (with original music by Richard Oberacker), Our TownThree Sisters (which won the Acclaim Award for Outstanding Ensemble) and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. In 2011, she received the Acclaim Award for Outstanding Theatre Educator.

Featured in numerous regional and national touring productions as well as WNET and NBC telecasts, Kvapil has also performed with National Players in Japan, Korea, Canada, North Africa and Bermuda. She is in demand for on-camera commercial work as well as voice overs for radio and television. As a writer, Kvapil has had a teleplay produced for NBC’s Young People’s Specials. She studied with American actor and acting teacher Eric Morris during the summer of 1987.

About R. Terrell Finney

CCM Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of Drama Terrell Finney.

CCM Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of Drama Terrell Finney.

R. Terrell Finney, Jr. is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of Graduate Studies and a Professor of Drama at CCM. A faculty member since 1983, his recent directing credits include Charley’s AuntFloyd CollinsDancing at LughnasaThe DivinersMyths and HymnsAs You Like It,Lend Me A TenorChekhov in YaltaBlithe Spirit and the world premiere of Clever Dick for CCM/Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, among others. He has also served as a faculty member at Birmingham-Southern College and the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Finney is a former artistic director of the Showboat Majestic where selected productions included Crimes of the Heart and They’re Playing Our Song. He also directed The Importance of Being Earnest for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival. Acting credits include Nurse Nanny Fanny in ETC’s Snow White, Hysterium in the Hot Summer Nights production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Argon in CCM’sThe Imaginary Invalid. He has also served as narrator for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

A graduate of the MFA directing program at Boston University, he spent the summers of 1992 and 1995 in training programs with the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain. A past president of the Ohio Theatre Alliance, Finney previously served as the head of the Division of Opera, Musical Theatere, Drama and Arts Administration at CCM and acted as producer of CCM’s acclaimed Hot Summer Nights from 1998 to 2002. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, he is currently serving as President of the National Association of Schools of Theatre and frequently serves as a consultant to theatre programs across the United States.

Although Finney is retiring this spring, he will make a return to CCM’s Mainstage Series to direct Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness! in February of 2016. You can learn more about this production, and the rest of CCM’s upcoming season, by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/notations-ovations/mainstage-series-2015-2016.

Performance Times
2 & 7 p.m., Friday, March 27

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission Details
Admission to the CCM Drama Senior Showcase and DOLLY Awards Ceremony is FREE and open to the general public. Reservations are not required.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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CCM Students and Alumnae Advance to Semifinals of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to report that four current and former CCM students have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition! Those include Artist Diploma candidate Jasmine Habersham (also MM Voice, 2013), Artist Diploma candidate Talya Lieberman, first-year DMA candidate Reilly Nelson (also MM Voice, 2014) and alumna Christine Cornish Smith (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013).

This impressive showing gives CCM more semi-finalists than any other school in the 2015 competition!

Habersham, Lieberman, Nelson and Smith will join 24 other singer-actors from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to compete in the Lotte Lenya Competition Semifinals on March 13 and 14 in New York City.

A program of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music now in its 18th year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theatre singing contest that recognizes exceptionally talented young singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, from opera and operetta to contemporary Broadway musicals, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill.

CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) took Third Prize in the 2013 installment of this prestigious international theater singing contest. CCM alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; Artist Diploma in Opera, 2010) earned First Prize in 2011 and fellow alumna Alisa Suzanne Jordheim (BM Voice, 2008; MM Voice, 2010; DMA candidate) progressed to the final round of the competition that same year.

The competition grants over $50,000 in prizes each year, and previous winners have gone on to forge prominent careers in opera houses and on Broadway. More information can be found at www.kwf.org/LLC.

About Jasmine Habersham
Jasmine Habersham returns to the Glimmerglass Festival this summer as Papagena in The Magic Flute. A member of the Glimmerglass Young Artist program in 2014, she also received the Central City Opera Guild Young Artist Award the previous year. The soprano holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from CCCM where she has appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave and Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. The Georgian is a graduate of Shorter University with a Bachelor of Music degree and is currently working toward her Artist Diploma at CCM.

About Talya Lieberman
An alumna of San Francisco’s 2014 Merola Opera Program, Talya Lieberman returns this spring to the San Francisco Opera Center to make her debut as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series. This summer she will perform Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. While pursuing her Artist Diploma at CCM, the Italo Tajo Award recipient performed Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. She anticipates her first professional opera engagement in 2016 when she will perform Musetta in La bohème at Opera Columbus. In addition to her vocal studies, Lieberman completed a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Highest Distinction in Linguistics at Duke University. Born in New York, Talya now calls Ohio home.

About Reilly Nelson
Born in the coastal town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, Reilly Nelson attended the Eastman School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and CCM where she completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. At CCM she performed Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. She also performed Hansel, as well as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center. The mezzo-soprano was a vocal fellow at Tanglewood in summers 2013 and 2014, performing Les nuits d’été, Op. 7 and Folk Songs by Bernard Rands.

About Christine Cornish Smith
A graduate of CCM with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Theater, Christine performed Polly Peachum in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Threepenny Opera, which was part of a year-long Kurt Weill Festival on campus. She also performed the Stepmother and covered the Witch in Into the Woods, and appeared in Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. Upon graduation, she performed Reuben’s Wife in the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is currently performing in Guys and Dolls at the Goodspeed Opera House (CT). The soprano made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the Ensemble of Oklahoma! In her native Texas, she made her Lyric Stage debut as Cutie in Fiorello! and performed as a Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls at Water Tower Theatre. She has also performed as principal dancer with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. She was a recipient of an Emerging Talent Award in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition.

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CCM Drama major Bartley Booz in the E-Media short film 'Solitude.'

CCM’s Department of Drama and Division of Electronic Media Present 48-Hour Film Festival This February

This semester, CCM’s Department of Drama and Division of Electronic Media are providing a unique opportunity for aspiring filmmakers, performers and storytellers in the form of a 48-Hour Film Festival, which will run from Feb. 20 – 22.

Based on the innovative 48 Hour Film Project festival and competition, which launched in 2001, CCM’s 48-Hour Film Festival will challenge teams comprised of students from throughout the university to bring their short films from conception to completion within a brisk 48-hour window.

Within a single weekend, student teams will create and then screen their own short films.

As described by the original 48 Hour Film Project, this promises to be, “a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and your team have a blast making a movie. All writing, shooting, editing and scoring must be completed in just 48 hours. On Friday night you are assigned a prop, a line of dialogue and a theme that must be included in your movie. 48 hours later, you must submit your film. Next? Your masterpiece will be shared with the participants of the festival.”

All University of Cincinnati students are invited to apply to be assigned to a team for the inaugural CCM 48-Film Festival. Applicants will need to be available for the entire 48 hours from 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, through 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22. Visit ccm.uc.edu/theatre/drama/48HourFilmFestival for application information. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015.

Applicants will be randomly assigned to teams and these assignments will be announced at a 7 p.m. meeting on Friday, Feb. 20. Teams will then be assigned a common prop, a common line of dialogue and a common theme, all of which must be included in each film. Film genres will not be assigned.

Teams will then have 48 hours to brainstorm, research, write, story-board, cast, film, score and edit a roughly five minute-long film, which will be screened in the MainStreet Cinema of UC’s Tangeman University Center on the night of Sunday, Feb. 22.

Teams will create job assignments, find costumes, scout locations, find props, create underscoring, rehearse, film and edit a final piece.

Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/theatre/drama/48HourFilmFestival.

The inaugural CCM 48-Hour Film Festival is made possible thanks to the generous support from the Friends of CCM.

CCM News

CCM Alumni Create Thrills and Chills in ‘Gone Girl’ Movie

CCM alumnus Cooper Thornton as Dr. Benson, leaning over Ben Affleck in the film 'Gone Girl.'

CCM alumnus Cooper Thornton as Dr. Benson, leaning over Ben Affleck in the film ‘Gone Girl.’

While movie audiences were gasping for the last few weekends, two CCM alumni were grinning. Not that the grads had morbid senses of humor, but they were appreciating the fact that their creative talents were partially responsible for Ben Affleck’s new thriller, Gone Girl, taking top box-office honors at $38 million during its Oct. 3-5 debut. Dawn Swiderski (BFA Theatre Design & Production, 1989) was the film’s art director and actor Cooper Thornton (MFA Dramatic Performance, 1992) played the role of Dr. Benson.

Affleck portrays a man whose beautiful wife goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. “ Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble,” say Twentieth Century Fox’s promotional materials. “Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question.”

David Fincher directed the film, based upon Gillian Flynn’s bestseller.

Swiderski and Thornton both have a long list of movie and TV credits attached to their names. Some of Swiderski’s best known works are The Girl with the Dragon TattooX-Men: First Class and Angels & Demons, starring Tom Hanks — a film in which the Art Directors Guild nominated her for best production design.

Thornton, known as Ray Thornton in college, is an actor, writer and producer, who is best known for his appearances on a variety of TV shows, including Parks and Recreation in the recurring role of Dr. Harris, “NCISNCIS: Los Angeles and House.

Learn more via Deborah Rieselman and  UC Magazine here.

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'Metamorphoses,' from CCM's acclaimed 2013-14 Mainstage Series.

Announcing CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series of Opera, Musical Theatre and Drama

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is pleased to announce initial details for its 2014-15 Mainstage Series of opera, musical theatre and drama productions.

The 2014-15 Mainstage Series features a dazzling collection of both classic and contemporary masterworks, including a gender-bending new production of Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy Macbeth, an extended run of the high-energy romantic-comedy Legally Blonde – The Musical and a magical production of the opera Hänsel and Gretel.

In early 2015, CCM’s student and faculty artists will also present Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and zeitgeist-dominating The Heidi Chronicles and a soaring musical production of Peter Pan. Mozart’s Così fan tutte will close out the series, with a new production directed by Robin Guarino, who recently staged this masterpiece at the Metropolitan Opera.

This year’s must-see Mainstage Series features six fully staged works guaranteed to fill audiences with delight, with performances scheduled from Oct. 1, 2014, through April 12, 2015. All performances take place in the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Cincinnati campus.

Production and ticketing details are below. Priority subscription packages go on sale May 2014. Single tickets become available in August, but subscribing is the only way to guarantee your seats for these must-see shows!

Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/subscribe to register for CCM’s mailing list, and the Box Office will provide you with additional information on this year’s subscription options.

Additional Information
Titles and dates are subject to change—rights pending. To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183. For additional information, visit ccm.uc.edu, email boxoff@uc.edu or call the Box Office.
CCM News

CCM Drama Holds Annual Senior Showcase and Dolly Awards on March 14

CCM's Class of 2014 in Drama.

CCM’s Class of 2014 in Drama.

CCM’s Department of Drama presents its annual Senior Showcase at 2 and 7 p.m. on Friday, March 14, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. The 12th annual DOLLY Awards Ceremony follows the 7 p.m. showcase performance. These events are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

The showcase performance will consist of a variety of scenes by graduating seniors in CCM’s Drama program, demonstrating the depth and breadth of the acting skills they have honed during their undergraduate training at CCM.

The Senior Showcase will be the first presentation of a performance that the students will be taking on the road to exhibit their talent in New York and Los Angeles in April. You can learn more about the Drama Class of 2014 at ccm.uc.edu/theatre/drama/seniorshowcase.

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CCM Drama Grad Diana Maria Riva Returns to Primetime TV

CCM alumna Diana Maria Riva on television's 'Saint George.' Photo courtesy of FX.

CCM alumna Diana Maria Riva on television’s ‘Saint George.’ Photo courtesy of FX.

We are thrilled to report that CCM Drama alumna Diana Maria Riva (BFA, ’91; MFA, ’95) returns to primetime television as a series regular in a new comedy starring George Lopez. The half-hour Saint George premieres at 9 p.m. ET tonight (Thursday, March 6) on the FX channel!

Riva plays Lopez’s “tough and sexy” boss, as described in FX press materials. Her character, Concepcion, is the assistant principal at a downtown Los Angeles school, where she supervises Lopez teaching an evening history class — his way to give back to the community.

You can learn more about the program courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer here and courtesy of UC Magazine here.

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TV Series Penned by Musical Theatre Alumnus Picked Up by CBS

CCM alumnus Mickey Fisher.

CCM alumnus Mickey Fisher.

We are delighted to report that a new television series penned by CCM Musical Theatre alumnus Mickey Fisher (BFA, 1995) has been ordered to series by CBS!

Fisher wrote the script and will serve as an executive producer for Extant, a futuristic thriller developed Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Television and CBS Television Studios. The serialized drama focuses on a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns from a year in outer space.

You can learn more about the project courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter.

A writer, director and actor, Fisher’s previous credits include the films King of Iron Town and Summer Nuts and the musical Something in the Water.

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CCM Chair of Drama Richard E. Hess Receives Fulbright Scholar Award

Drama professor Richard Hess (right) led a contingent of students to Kenya in 2011 where they met refugees such as Abdi Rashid, a writer (left), who translated Hess' words to Somali.

Drama professor Richard Hess (right) led a contingent of students to Kenya in 2011 where they met refugees such as Abdi Rashid, a writer (left), who translated Hess’ words to Somali.

Richard E. Hess, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Drama at CCM, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach and research at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya during the 2013-­14 academic year, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

Hess’ research project, The Collapsible Space Between Us: Creating Artistic Identity through Theatre-­Making in Kenya, will allow him to work with actors as an acting teacher, on original devised theatre as a director and in educating theatre-­makers: actors who are story­tellers with strong identities interested in creating exciting physical theatre.

Hess is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2013-­14.

Hess first traveled to Nairobi in June of 2011 to create an original theatre piece with refugees from the Dadaab Refugee Camp and CCM Drama students. The Dadaab Theatre Project performed at World Refugee Day with support from the United Nations and the Great Globe Foundation.

“In Kenya I met a group of multi-cultural, international, multi-language strangers who used the currency of theatre to open hearts, share identities, and give voice to the unspoken,” Hess explains. “I encountered heroic bravery and tangible hope, and was surprised by the intense trust and humbling respect given to me so easily. The Africans made me feel valued as a teacher in a way I have never felt. I am eager to return.”

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