Creative Ventures (Summer 2014)

Xanthippi Abel, Art –East

Xanthippi Art Article-2“Walking through an art store one summer, I came across a bottle of gesso with Bob Ross’ image printed on the label. Instantly,I was transported back in time to my childhood, when I would become hypnotized by the show The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. I will never forget how his half-hour show was full of surprises, as he turned an empty canvas into a wonderful serene landscape—and made it look so easy. Naturally, I wanted to share this experience and Bob Ross with a new generation of young artists: my high school Art I and II students….”

Ms. Abel’s lesson plan, Happy Trees, Happy Students: Oil Paintings Inspired by Bob Ross was published in the April 2014 Arts and Activities Magazine. You can see the images and read the full text by clicking the link above.



Art East PosterArts Festivals

DSC_0555On Saturday, May 10 Sturgis East held its annual Arts Festival at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. The day was filled with wonderful musical performances by the Sturgis Strings, student a cappella group “Half-Step Down,” Sturgis Singers, Community Chorus, the Jazz Band and Improvisation Combo as well as fantastic theatrical performances presented by the Junior and Senior IB Theatre classes. The art gallery was filled with amazing visual art created by students of all grades. Congratulations to all involved!

(Sturgis East Arts Festival Photos appear in slide show at bottom of page courtesy of Isabelle Racette)

West Arts Festival 055On Saturday, May 17, Sturgis West held their annual Arts Festival at Cotuit Center for the Arts featuring:

Poster Sturgis west arts fest 2014.jpgIB Music Junior and Senior Performances, IB Theatre Junior and Senior Plays, A Capella, Theatre 10 Scenes, Jazz Band, String Ensemble, Art Exhibits & Faculty Performances!

Elisabeth Moore, West Music teacher shared videos of several musical performances at the West Arts Festival. The duets  are independent projects developed and practiced during lunch and after school for the sheer love of music. Larger than Life was a surprise performance by five faculty members. Enjoy!

West Arts Festival 017

                      Sturgis West Arts Festival Duets

                     Sturgis West Arts Festival IB Juniors and Seniors



Sturgis Participants in Cape Cod Theatre Slam


Cape Cod Theatre Slam

On Saturday, April 19, twelve East/West theater students and theater teachers Anna Botsford & Rachel Ollagnon competed in the Cape Cod Theatre Slam at Harwich Junior Theatre HJT. The event was a fund-raiser for Breast Cancer charities on the Cape. A total of 8 teams competed. Each team was given a theme, one required line of dialogue and four hours to create and rehearse a 7-10 minute piece. The resulting performances were creative and amusing. Audience and team members voted on their favorite performances. First place was a tie between a team of adult clowns and the Sturgis team of Jacob Tobey, Dan Souza, Meghan Borowski and Rachel Ollagnon. It was a great, fun-filled day!


The CurrThe Current Lit Mag coverent: A Collection of Creative Works from Sturgis East and West

We are pleased to announce the first edition of our revived literary magazine: The Current: A Collection of Creative Works from Sturgis East and West. Through this publication, Founding Editors Skye Kuppig, Zoe Neal, Ellie Titcomb, Katie Curran, Anna Rohlf and Taylor White strive to showcase creative writing and artwork of the Sturgis community.
To peruse the complete collection of submitted works, see:  The Current 

Earthchange 150eARThchange April 3 -May 3

The eARTchange exhibit brought together diverse parties to explore the effects of climate change in an artistic way.  The sculpture and installations of Nathalie Miebach were juxtaposed with an artistic commentary on climate change from students of Sturgis Charter School in partnership with the Town of Barnstable’s growth management department. Phyllis Hartley’s sculpture, often made using recycled materials, rounds out this thought-provoking exhibition.  The following students  had work in the exhibit: Meghan Borowski, Mathias Boyer, Elizabeth Campbell, Meghan Clancy, Maura Coughlin, Emma Esterman, Marisa Kenney, Isabella Luff, Annalee May, Sasha McEnaney, Cooper Peterson, Isabella Roberge, Amanda Sullivan

Fiction WritingFiction Craft

Sturgis West Library hosted a new author on the Cape, K.R. Conway, who  graciously offered her course, Fiction Craft, to  Sophomore classes during April.  She is the author of The Undertow Series, currently with two high selling titles and hopes to challenge students to find their own voices for writing fiction.

CoffeeHse_Poster_2014_cs5_aPoetry and Performing Arts Coffeehouse

On February 27, the Starry Night themed Poetry and Performing Arts Coffeehouse brought out the stars. Twenty four spirited performances from East and West were showcased in the star-studded coffeehouse at West Atrium. Sturgis Singers and Community Choir kicked off the event with beautiful harmonies. An enthusiastic crowd of families and friends numbering well over 100 enjoyed an eclectic mix of music, dance, and poetry interpretations including SLAM. The 11th annual Poetry and Performing 2014 Coffeehouse 051Arts Coffeehouse provided another great opportunity for students from both campuses to come together and share their talents.

2014 Coffeehouse 062

Poetry Out Loud

Harper and CarissaPoetry is in the air at Sturgis. Carissa Wells and Harper Edwards gave excellent performances at the MA Poetry Out Loud Regional Semi-Finals on Sunday at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. We can’t get enough poetry! On March 21st, students from East and West traveled to UMass Boston to participate in Mass Poetry’s Student Day of Poetry, a day-long field trip dedicated to poetry for high school students from all over Massachusetts. Students heard professional poets perform, participated in creative writing workshops for teens led by celebrated local and national poets, followed by a student open mike event. Teachers and chaperones were able to attend professional development workshops throughout the day.

Thanks to Katie Curran, you can see her video of what Poetry Out Loud is all about:  POL:

Poetry Out Loud 2014- Sturgis Charter School

Sturgis East Students Honored in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 02:36 PM PST

(Originally published in StormWatch, reprinted here with permission.)

By The Stormwatch Staff

Curran - TivoliSophomore Katie Curran won a Gold Key for this photo, titled “Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark”

Sophomore Meghan Borowski’s photo “Little Sebago Lake” won a Silver Key

Each year, students who excel in the visual arts and creative writing have the opportunity to earn recognition for their outstanding work. The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards dates back to 1923 and is the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program from creative teens across the United States. In the past six years alone, there have been over one million submissions. Partnering universities and colleges have made over $30 million available to top winning students.
Katie Curran, a sophomore at Sturgis East, received a Gold Key in the competition for her photograph titled “Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark.” Her photo will be going to the national competition for judging in New York City.  A gold key is the highest level of achievement in the regional level, and approximately 7% of all submissions are considered for national-level recognition.
In addition to Katie, several other exceptional Sturgis students received awards in the regional competition. Meghan Borowski’s photo titled “Little Sebago Lake” received a silver key in the photography category.  Amy Darbyshire’s drawing titled “Wondering” received honorable mention as well as her piece “Great Blue” in the printmaking category. Hannah Joseph’s photo called “Cabiñitas” was awarded a silver key as well as an honorable mention for her photograph, “Citrus Smooch.” Czarina Shartle’s sculpture “Grave of the Obsolete” received an honorable mention.
In the writing category, Catherine Etienne’s personal essay titled “The Remedy” and poem called “Dirt” were both awarded a silver key. Cooper Heilmann’s short story called “The Man of Clay” received honorable mention.  A silver key was presented to Monique Legault for her personal memoir titled “A Huge Heart.” Czarina Shartle won in both the art and writing categories, as her personal essay called “The Artist” was awarded a Silver Key. “The Human Connection”, a personal essay by Julia Tager, received honorable mention.
Congratulations to all the winners of the regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards!

Sturgis Passion Project

On Friday, March 28, Sturgis Passion Project (SPP) welcomed the greater Sturgis community to a coffeehouse for a cause! Singers, poets, and comedians performed to raise money for Veterans Moving Forward, Inc., an organization that provides service dogs to veterans with physical and mental health challenges. Through small suggested donations, the group was able to raise almost $200 to support the veterans. SPP members initiated and planned the entire event, which lasted for the better part of two hours and included an art exhibit by sophomore art students. SPP would like to thank the many talented performers who participated, as well as the wonderful MC, Dan Souza.

Theatre Students Travel to Czech Republic

Czech 1Czech 2During the week of April 2 -7, Mrs. Botsford and Ms. Ollagnon took 12 students (9 from West, 3 from East) to Prague, Litromerice and Terezin- all in the Czech Republic.  The trip began with a tour of the city of Prague and then we travelled to Terezin- a former ghetto and concentration camp during the Holocaust.  We worked with the ISTA program (International Schools Theatre Association- the organization in charge of the IB Theatre curriculum).  The students and teachers worked with 7 other schools from places such as Munich, Ethiopia, Brussels, Bratislava and Milan.  The kids were split into one of four group (Physicality, Music, Visual Art or Media) and created Theatre based on their experience touring the ghetto, camp, barracks, crematorium, and various museums.  The four days were a brilliant look into how humankind can create beauty from horrific events.  Our students showed emotional apathy and maturity.  They also met great friends and had an amazing time!

Sturgis Charter School Presents “Juvie” and “These Shining Lives” at Cotuit Center for the Arts

Directors IMG_0452

Directors Rachel Ollagnon and Anna Botsford

Juvie and TSL poster

Press Release by Cotuit Center for the Arts

Cotuit Center for the Arts presents two one-act plays, “Juvie,” by Jerome McDonough, and “These Shining Lives,” by Melanie Marnich, Wednesday, February 5, through Saturday, February 8. Shows are at 4 PM on Wednesday and Thursday; 4 and 7 PM on Friday; and 1, 4, and 7 PM on Saturday.

Both plays will be performed by 9th through 12th-grade students at Sturgis Charter School in Hyannis, under the direction of their teachers, Anna Botsford and Rachel Ollagnon. The students hope to receive feedback on their performances from the audience; they will be presenting the plays at the Massachusetts Drama Guild Festival on March 1.

Juvie Cast

Juvie Cast

Botsford, the lead teacher for theater at Sturgis West, is directing “Juvie,” a compelling play about troubled young people at a juvenile detention center. They tell their stories in a series of monologues, short scenes, and flashbacks.

“The play enables the audience to see into the minds of the young offenders, as they tell their stories,” said Botsford, “to understand the choices they made, and to open people’s minds to the reasons why young people may commit crimes. Some of them were abused as children, were in foster care, or were treated badly themselves. We move toward empathy, rather than anger.”

Botsford’s students—there are 13 in the play—have been reading books and watching documentaries about juvenile offenders to prepare themselves for the roles they will be playing. One young woman plays a drug addict who breaks into an old man’s home looking for something to sell to buy drugs. Another is a well-to-do teen who gets caught for shoplifting, but thinks she is above it all. A young man who is mentally disabled Juvie IMG_0386doesn’t understand the charges against him. There are drunk drivers, misfits, and murderers. They are scared, lonely, tough, and vulnerable.

Juvie IMG_0444Botsford is head of the fine arts department at Sturgis West, where she is in her seventh year of teaching theater classes. She has a master’s degree in theater from Emerson College, was a company actor for Theater Espresso in Boston, and recently appeared in “Boston Marriage” at CCftA, as well as productions at Barnstable Comedy Club, Harwich Junior Theater, and Harbor Stage in Wellfleet.

“These Shining Lives” is based on a true story of four women who worked in a watch factory in the 1920s and 30s where they painted markings on watch dials using a glow-in-the-dark radium compound. One of the workers, Catherine Donohue, narrates the play, which tells her story as moments in time, from the day she first began work at the factory until her death as a result of radium poisoning.

Mrs. Ollagnon (front, second from the right) will move on from Sturgis next year to teach at a school in Houston, Texas

These Shining Lives Cast

The watch company refuses to take responsibility until Donahue takes her case to court, winning a landmark workers compensation case before she dies.

“It is a fascinating story of a time when women were first going into the workforce in numbers,” said Ollagnon. “The writing is very fluid. Scenes intermingle as the story is re-enacted. The students love the play; they find it very moving and powerful, and they really embrace the challenges in the way the story is written.

The play features 11 actors and a technical crew of 10. “It is a great ensemble piece, giving the actors an opportunity to work together, with multiple actors playing a variety of roles,” said Ollagnon.

Ollagnon worked and taught overseas for 17 years before coming to Sturgis East to teach theater 2 and half years ago. As a result of her international experience, Ollagnon looks for roles that bring new ideas and new challenges to her students, to broaden their understanding of the world.

Sturgis Theatre is very much alive and well

Stage East and Stage West gave amazing performances that received excellent reviews.  Check out the following article published in The Barnstable Patriot:

New territory for young actors: pair of plays push Sturgis students with challenging roles.

Arts and Culture Coordinator Melissa Chartrand interviews  Sturgis Theatre teachers:

Sturgis Charter Public School Theater program-upcoming plays at Cotuit Center for the Arts

Arts and Culture Coordinator Melissa Chartrand chats with Anna Botstford and Rachael Ollagnon about the theater arts program at Sturgis, two upcoming productions and art exhibit, eARTHchange.

Sturgis East S.T.A.G.E. Dazzles at METG, Advances to State Semi-Finals

Posted: 02 Mar 2014 07:54 PM PST

(Originally published in StormWatch, reprinted here with permission.)

By Peter Keefe, Class of 2015 East

TSL IMG_0298This Saturday, Sturgis East’s theatre group known as S.T.A.G.E. took its production of These Shining Lives to the first round of the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild (METG). This is the second S.T.A.G.E. show to partipate in the METG.

The day started with an opening ceremony and a very comical “Theatre Olympics” opening video. The first production of the day by South Shore Charter was Mail Call, a performance that brought the horrors of war to life. The next play, performed by Nauset High, was Hello Herman, an extremely eye-opening production about bullying that led to a school shooting that still gives me the chills!

Notre Dame Academy followed Hello Herman by performing Aunt Leaf, a story about the relation between an aunt and her niece, utilizing amazing shadow effects. Martha’s Vineyard High put on the show right before lunch, Hush, a story about a bartendender being pressured to join the mob and how one’s life can change in one night.

TSL IMG_0185Right after lunch, Bourne High treated us to And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson, a disturbingly real drama about a girl growing up with polio. The next show by Mittleboro was Mac and Beth, a student-written adaptation of a modern day MacBeth. After Mac and Beth, the audience was given the honor of witnessing These Shining Lives, a tear-jerking drama about women working and suffering in a factory in the 1920s. The final production, called On the Same Page, was a hilarious, student-written comedy about school stereotypes performed by St. Sebastian’s High.

S.T.A.G.E. would like to congratulate all the schools that performed. Simply having a show ready for METG is an honor that clearly took hours of hard work and practice. I would also like to thank each member of my fellow cast, the crew, and of course our wonderful director, Ms. Ollagnon. Without all of you, this production would have been impossible. On Saturday, I believe that we put on the best These Shining Lives show that we have ever done.

TSL IMG_0284Finally, 12 hours after the festival began, there was an award ceremony. The two judges gave out personal awards, and Sturgis East did very well in this regard. The members of These Shining Lives who received individual awards were Lily Paradise, Sophia Braddel, Angela Young, Czarina Shartle, and Audrey Peterson. After the individual awards were given out, it was time to announce which school would be moving on to the semi-finals of METG. Everyone was aware that only three schools would move on from the preliminary round for each bracket.

Theater Guild plaque

Sturgis S.T.A.G.E. – Preliminary Round Winners

Our hearts were racing, and we were we very anxious to hear the results the results. Finally we heard the following words: “And the second production moving on is These Shining Lives.” Immediately after, our whole Sturgis section jumped out of our seats and cheered. After much yelling, jumping, hugging, and crying, we sent up Geronimo Kelly, our student director, to receive the award.

The other two schools in our bracket moving on are Bourne High and Notre Dame High. Out of the 115 schools in METG this year, only 42 move on to the semi-finals. That’s only 27%! This is the second year Sturgis East has been a part of METG. Last year’s production of Booby Trap also made it to the semi-finals, making Sturgis two-for-two in the preliminaries.

TSL IMG_0291Sturgis S.T.A.G.E. would like to thank our gracious hosts, Bourne High School, especially Trevor Scoville, our charismatic guide. S.T.A.G.E. would also like to congratulate Trevor for his amazing performance as Skeeter in And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson.

The semi-finals will be on March 15. Sturgis East will be performing at Sharon High School, the same place Booby Trap was performed for the semi-finals last year. We will be the first show performing at 9:30 AM. This time, our opponents will be Bradford Christian Academy,  Cambridge Rindge and Latin, St. John’s Prep, Sharon High, and Marian High.

I am extremely proud of every member of These Shining Lives. We did it. We were shining!


Winter Concerts

Deeper Gold

Winter Concerts

Winter Concerts









Jazz Finale

Winter Concerts

Winter Concerts





Sturgis Winter Concerts


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


%d bloggers like this: