Monday, September 30, 2013

56. Meet the English Theater Kids

I would like to introduce the following ten kids.  These are the members of my English Theater group, and they are the most dedicated students at the Zobue Secondary School.   Five of them are new this year, and five of them are repeat performers who came back for the second year in a row.  All of them are amazing, funny, strong, and clever, and all of them are favorites (for very different reasons).  These are the students that will go on to change and strengthen Mozambique.  

It's for kids like these that I'm glad I came to Africa.  They make my job-- the work, the effort, and the sacrifices-- worth it in the end.  

Claudio
Name:  Claudio Eusebio de Sousa
Age:  13 years old
Grade:  9th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2012 and 2013 (Repeat performer)
Notes:  Though Claudio is the youngest member of the group, he is also one of the very best communicators.  He is the son of a well-educated border guard, and grew up speaking Portuguese instead of  a native, local language.  Claudio is respectful, sweet, and courteous, and tries hard to make everybody happy.
Role in the Group:  Teacher's pet


Crimildo
Name:  Crimildo de Jesus
Age:  14 years old
Grade:  9th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2012 and 2013 (Repeat performer)
Notes:  Crimildo is tiny and diminutive, and one of the quietest boys in the group.  He is one of the original members, and he joined simply because he loved his English classes.  He always goes for smaller roles, but performs them to perfection.
Role in Group:  The Quiet One

Nivalda
Name:  Nivalda Emilio Solomoni
Age:  14 years old
Grade:  9th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2012 and 2013 (Repeat performer)
Notes:  Nivalda is one of English Theater's biggest success stories.  When I met her last year, she was a quiet 8th grade student with average grades and an average level of enthusiasm.  Then, she got involved with English Theater.  As one of the few girls in the production, she scored a leading role and discovered her funny streak, her giant voice, and her love for speaking English.  Emboldened by her success, she has became one of the best scholastic performers in her grade and is now one of the powerhouse players of the English Theater group.
Role in Group:  Funny Girl

Osvaldo
Name:  Osvaldo Anastancio
Age:  14 years old
Grade:  9th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2012 and 2013 (Repeat performer)
Notes:  Unlike with Nivalda, there was never any doubt that Osvaldo was going to join the English Theater group.  He was the loudest and most participatory student in my largest and loudest class, and he loved, loved, loved to practice English.  He earned a lead role in both of the 2012 and 2013 English Theater productions, and continues to perform with (hilarious and slightly uncontrollable) gusto.  He is a little too smart and hyper for his own good, and often gets scolded for his lip.
Role in Group:  Funny Boy

Zidane
Name:  Zidane Marcelo Boisse
Age:  15 years old
Grade:  8th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2013
Notes:  Zidane is proof that there are great kids hidden in ranks of average students.  Originally a quiet and unassuming 8th grader, Zidane surprised me by carving out a place for himself in this year's English Theater group.  It wasn't that he was an especially amazing speaker (he isn't)-- it was simply the fact that he just kept coming to practice.  In a country where no one ever shows, Zidane surprised me with his reliability and punctuality.  He was simply interested.  He wanted to participate.  This year was his first year, so he started out with a small role.  But I think that he'll go farther in the future.
Role in Group:  The Earnest One


Germia
Name:  Germia Americo
Age:  16 years old
Grade:  8th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2013
Notes:  If Nivalda was the success story of 2012, then Germia is the success story of the year 2013.  Germia was actually my student last year, and he failed 8th grade horribly.  His attendance was spotty at best, and I would always catch him selling chicken on the road when he was supposed to be in class.  I always had a soft spot for him, though, because he was so sweet and softspoken.  I sat him down for a one-on-one conversation at the beginning of his second year, and, to my surprise, he listened.  Suddenly, Germia made a rapid turn-around.  He started coming to school every day.  He sat in front, asked a million questions, and really started trying.  English became his best subject, and he became one of my very favorite students.  When he tried out for a part in this year's English Theater group, he won it by a landslide.
Role in Group:  Most Improved


Graciete
Name:  Graciete Domingos
Age:  16 years old
Grade:  10th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2012 and 2013 (Repeat performer)
Notes:  Graciete is not the oldest member of our English Theater Group, but she is one of the few that is actually on-track in terms of her schooling.  She is already in tenth grade, which means that next year she will leave Zobue to study in a "second cycle" high school for 11th and 12th grade students.  Last year, Graciete was our shyest and most solemn student.  She rarely spoke above a whisper and she never, ever smiled.   This year, I've seen her smile, sing, and even shout her lines.  She's actually the best singer in our group, and has won a lot of recent recognition from her peers.  
Role in Group:  Mother


Fernando
Name:  Fernando Nh. Augusto
Age:  18 years old
Grade:  8th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2013
Notes:  A new student from the big city of Beira, Fernando is the self-described "Big Boy" of the English Theater group.  He is a partial orphan who lives with his older brother and his older brother's wife in a house not far from our.  He comes to our front porch just to chat and borrow books, and he joined the group because he likes to be "involved in school activities."  His politeness and mannerisms peg him as a student from the more sophisticated south, and, like Claudio, his Portuguese is perfect. 
Role in Group:  The Good Student 


Samuel
Name:  Samuel Joao Mauricio
Age:  18 years old
Grade:  8th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2013
Notes:  Samuel is the class president of my favorite 8th grade turma, and he is the smartest student I've ever had.  He is loyal, hardworking, and kind to his peers.  He picks up all concepts (including lines from the play) in minutes, and learned to perform the "Cups" song after just one round of demonstration.  He is the only student to have memorized every line of dialogue from the play, including all of the words to the song.  
Role in Group:  Class President


Narcisio 
Name:  Narcisio Razo Jaime
Age:  20 years old
Grade:  8th Grade
English Theater Status:  Active in 2013
Notes:  Narcisio is the oldest member of the English Theater group, and the group's only self-starter.  He had to leave school for some years due to family issues, but has since returned with for├ža.  He acts as the group leader when I'm not around, and is the best English speaker in the group by far.  He studies English on his own time, and finds himself incredibly bored in my low-level English classes.  Like Samuel, he is the class president of his 8th grade turma.
Role in Group:  Leader

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