by Sheila Gardner

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February 12, 2013
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Drama students win over Minden board

Seventh grader Ella Dillwith and her classmates put on such a convincing performance for the Minden Town Board last week that officials agreed to let the students use the CVIC Hall for free to put on a play.

Ella and other members of the Carson Valley Middle School drama club (which she organized) asked the board to waive $877.50 rental fees, so all proceeds from their April production will benefit Austin's House children's center.

She had approached the board in January, and asked that the request be placed on the town's agenda for Feb. 6.

The students began their presentation with an excerpt from "Goldilocks On Trial."

"I'm sure you want to see the rest of the play," Ella said. "We've been practicing weekly, and are very excited to put on the play. You would not only be helping the children here today, but the kids who need Austin's House."

Austin's House, a shelter for children who have been removed from their homes for abuse or neglect, provides a safe place for its temporary residents to remain in Douglas County.

Board member John Stephans told the applicants he was delighted to support their request.

Ella, 13, brought a cheering section of more than a dozen students and family members to show their support for the club's efforts.

She billed the project as "kids helping kids," with all proceeds going to Austin's House. The drama club hopes to raise $4,000.

"Congratulations," said member Steve Thaler. "You did your homework. You bringing the people tells us as board members you have the support. You're doing it for a cause that's near and dear to my heart."

Following the unanimous vote in favor of the fee waiver, Ella shook hands with every member of the board as her classmates applauded and cheered.

Ella got the drama club going again after she collected 50 signatures for permission from the school administration.

Teacher Gina Solari allows the club to use her classroom after school, and works with the students along with Ella's mother, Jen Dillwith.

The program is being run without school funds, Jen Dillwith said.

She and Solari purchased the script, a 50-minute play about Goldilocks being charged with breaking and entering the three bears' house.

Patty Clark, broker-owner of Century 21 Clark Properties, is donating the cost of tickets and publicity flyers.

The play is set for two performances 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. April 13, and is family oriented. The extra days' rental will allow the students to rehearse and strike the set after the play.

Jen Dillwith said the Old Gym Playhouse in front of the middle school was inadequate for the performance because the stage is used for storage and the gym is booked with sports activities.

Ticket donations for "Goldilocks on Trial" are $5-$25, and will be available beginning March 10 at Tumblewind in downtown Minden, Century 21 Clark Properties, and from drama students.


For additional information about the performance, or Austin's House, contact Jen Dillwith at

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The Record Courier Updated Feb 12, 2013 05:47PM Published Feb 12, 2013 05:40PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.