Students Raise Funds for OHS Drama Club

From left, Owen Shultz (Beast), Stephen Mendez (Gaston), Eva Leon (Belle), Tiffany Gardner (Lumiere Candlestick), and Gialina Ploutz (Mrs. Potts) stand with OHS Drama Club President Michaela Pawluk. Photo by Joel J. Plue
‘Be Our Guest’

Students Raise Funds
for OHS Drama Club


Student cast members of Oneonta High School’s upcoming production of “Beauty and the Beast” were on hand to meet and greet members of the public at a special Disney Character Breakfast fund-raiser held in the school cafeteria on Saturday, March 4.

Despite ominous clouds overhead and a snowstorm the previous evening, community members turned up in large numbers to support the students and local arts. Attendees—undeterred by their bulky winter jackets and having had to trudge through the snow—were overjoyed to interact with the brightly costumed students. Enchanting Disney music played in the background and many happy faces were seen enjoying the fresh baked goods and other breakfast items at the catered gathering.

It was apparent from the preparation for this event that a tremendous amount of dedication and talent goes into the school drama club’s productions. Michaela Pawluk, president of the OHS Drama Club, attended the breakfast in support of her students.

“I am very lucky to not only work with the kids here, but I am fortunate enough to head the Orpheus Theatre Starstruck Players, for other children of the community,” said Pawluk, who teaches theater at OHS and is also a kindergarten teacher at Riverside Elementary School.

Pawluk, a board member of Orpheus Theatre for three years now, makes it her mission to engage young students in theater.
“I advocated for our middle-schoolers to have the opportunity to work in the high school drama club,” Pawluk said during the event.

Her advocacy for the students has since paid off, as a growing number of students of varying ages can now study and learn theater production under Pawluk. Ten middle-schoolers have singing, dancing, and acting roles alongside high-school students in the upcoming staging of “Beauty and the Beast.” Pawluk’s guidance has also inspired students to consider a career in the arts moving forward.

Stephen Mendez, who plays Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” later this month, said, “After gaining the experience in school productions and working under such a great teacher like Mrs. Pawluk, I am now looking into pursuing a career in music production after graduation.”

Previously, Mendez played Seymour in the school’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

The Disney Character Breakfast hosted at the school served as a fund-raiser for the school’s Drama Club. The students not only gain the opportunity of playing larger-than-life characters, they also work diligently to ensure the success of current and future productions.

“Funds raised today are going toward microphone rentals and other future programs,” Pawluk explained.

Gialina Ploutz, who plays Mrs. Potts in the production of “Beauty and the Beast,” also works as the Drama Club’s student vice president. She manages social media while fund-raising alongside Drama Club Student President Tiffany Gardner.

“This is a passion for me,” Ploutz emphasized. “I plan to pursue an acting career in future theater productions long after graduation.”

The OHS Drama Club will present “Beauty and the Beast” March 17-19 in the school’s auditorium. Showings begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the final performance on Sunday at 3 p.m. To purchase tickets, or to learn more about future OHS Drama Club productions and events, call (607) 433-8243.

One thought on “Students Raise Funds for OHS Drama Club

  1. Nancy Gill Scisci

    Would love to help them as a former member of the drama club . Is there a site for donations

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