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Puppet show teaches, entertains students

Staff reports

The Douglas High School intermediate drama class annually performs a puppet show for 4th graders which teaches children about disabilities and what it is like to feel different from others.

The program is part of the national Kids on the Block organization, supporting educational puppet theatre for nearly 25 years. This year, the DHS Kids on the Block have a new look, thanks in large part to the generosity of Target and Mervyn’s California.

Both stores made donations of toddler clothing so that the puppets, some of which are about 15 years old, can update their look and replace clothing that is beginning to look old and worn.

Many local volunteers sewed and altered the clothing to fit the various puppets to get them ready for this season’s tour. While the puppet show tours to nearly all 4th graders in the Douglas County School District, the show also is performed for classes of children in Dayton, Smith Valley and Yerington.

The drama students traditionally perform puppet programs about about disabilities such as visual impairment, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and learning disabilities.

This year, they have added autism to their repertiore.

“There is a growing number of autistic children attending DCSD schools, and educating their peers about autism helps make the children more accepted in their schools,” said Rod Hearn, director of the puppet show.

“We were fortunate to obtain funding this year to add the autism program, and so far it has been well received by the young audiences.”