Young People Share Their Thoughts
Cast from performance at Whitwell Middle School, Whitwell, Tennessee
"Being in this play has given me more acceptance of other people. I pay attention now when kids around me are making dumb comments about other people. Acting the part made me want to live it."
Marky Hilario, Age 13
"The whole audience went quiet sometimes and you knew they were really thinking. I've learned I need to stick up for people I don't know. It's never really happened to me, but if it does, I'm ready."
Rebecca Kellison, Age 12
"[The story of Billings] was a good lesson about people learning to get along, and standing up for each other, even though they were different. I thought it was amazing because all of it was true and people really did do this for each other."
Rachael Travaloro, Age 10
"Being in this play has made me a better person and I can spread my knowledge. It's never okay to discriminate and I'm more sensitive to all the ways we can do that. We're all in this world together and we've just got to support each other if we're not just going to survive, but really live."
Kaleb Christensen, Age 13
"I liked being able to tell this story ... it will help change people's lives."
Chase Anderson, Age 12
"All the kids in my class and school should see this show. There's one boy in my class who gets picked on all the time; he's kind of goofy and different. None of the other boys try to help him, and when the girls try he gets embarrassed. So it would be good to do the play at school ... maybe some of the mean kids could play Isaac [one of the play's characters who must cope with bullying and anti-semitism] and see what that feels like."
Katie Kemmick, Age 11
"I learned a lot [from the story of Billings]. But the most important is if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwaanza, we are all one people."
Alex Kadimos, Age 10
Adults Share Their Thoughts
Not In Our Town Conference, Bloomington Illinois
"Playing the piano accompaniment for Paper Candles was a great experience! Here is a true account of a Montana town's confrontation with and solution to religious and racial harassment -- a serious theme developed with compassion and a light touch of humor. Music and lyrics fit cleverly supporting a story about which every child and adult should know.
4th-6th graders at Pollock Elementary School, Philadelphia, performed it with great enthusiasm and imagination (middle and high school ages could handle this well also)… Lots of good opportunities for solos, small ensembles and larger choral parts; good development of characters are in this satisfying musical version. Music directors and drama teachers take note!"
Glenna Gregory Liuzzi, Pollock Elementary School
"My sixth graders just finished their 6th and final performance of Paper Candles and it was absolutely amazing! Over 300 2nd - 6th graders watched it over the past few days ... . The children did such a beautiful job telling the story -- I am so proud of them! ... This was a remarkable experience for the students and for me."
Anne Caulfield, Pearl Creek Elementary
“The message of the play hit so many areas…from bullying to religious tolerance, discrimination, and things going on in our own country. It affected the [whole] school community … Many unusual friendships developed between some kids who wouldn’t even usually be talking to one another. It was the best experience I ever had as a teacher.”
Patricia Clark, Woodland School
(Excerpted from Teaching Tolerance, Spring, 2005)
"... It’s a story people will be able to relate to on many different levels ... Janice could have taken the story and written only about Jews who were persecuted and stood up, but she has made it about how kids deal with bullying in school, how it’s the responsibility of the people who are not being persecuted to stand up for those who are ... It connects the dots between anti-Semitism and racism and just plain schoolyard bullying.”
David White, Assistant Managing Director, Passage Theatre
(Excerpted from The Trenton Times, December, 2005)
"... The beauty of a play like this is you can go straight from [performing the play], to discussions of what is happening in our classrooms, in our schools, in our community ... It shows the power of social action and civic involvement.”
Dr. Philip Brown,
Director of New Jersey Center for Character Education
(Excerpted from The Montclair Times, June, 2005)
"The play went beautifully, without a hitch. ... Many members of the congregation said it was the best Christmas play we ever performed."
Pat Gong, University Baptist and Brethren Church
""I was thrilled with the success of Paper Candles. On November 15th, our entire student body, 600 pupils, saw the play in two school assemblies, and we had several hundred community members experience Paper Candles in an evening production. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Our school principal reinforced the positive message of the play at the end of each performance in a brief speech. Discussion questions were brought up with our 7th graders the following day in their Home and Careers classes in regard to discrimination, harassment, bullying, and how to deal with any and all of these issues, 8th Grade Social Studies teachers brought up the Holocaust with their classes and the references in the play to Kristallnacht and the role of King Christian and other non-Jewish Danes in World War II.""
Deborah Golden, John G. Borden Middle School Drama Club