MRTF 2023

Teacher awarded grant for new drama production class at PBJHS
Posted on 09/12/2023
Linda Surber, Mark Cook, Hilary Taylor and Candace Warren.

The newly created drama production class at Poplar Bluff Junior High was awarded $500, one of 11 grants presented last month out of 24 applications in Region 12 of the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation, according to officials.

Hilary Taylor authored the successful proposal, marking the third year in a row the teacher has received the MRTF grant of five total she has acquired over the last seven years. One or more Poplar Bluff teachers have been selected as recipients annually through the foundation since 2017.

“Students will design promotional posters, research and help find props and costumes, rehearse the parts, and design, build and paint the set,” Taylor wrote. “…The items purchased through the MRTF grant will allow the initial production to have actual flats for the students to design and decorate for a much more complete production.”

The budget outlined in Taylor’s write-up included lumber, foam sheets, screws and paint. There are presently 23 students enrolled in the year-long class. Taylor previously led a drama elective, which was only a semester, and additionally incorporated elements of public speaking, she explained.

With the expanded curriculum, students will research and evaluate different script choices, vote to determine which production they will audition for, and then put on a full-length play in the spring, she said. “Theater is something that I’ve been involved in since I was 5 years old,” shared Taylor, who serves as board treasurer and prop/costume coordinator for the Stage Company, a community theater group.

Taylor also teaches game design, robotics, credit recovery and the gifted program (SINGS). Her grants through MRTF—totaling $2,500—have helped cover start-up costs for the electives, along with English, which she taught several years ago when she first transferred to Junior High from Oak Grove Elementary. Upon applying the seed money, Taylor hopes to sustain the emerging class with revenue from ticket sales.

The foundation is the fundraising arm of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association, made up of retired educators whose purpose is to promote the professional, social and economic welfare of all retired school employees, according to its website. The grant funds are generated during the annual delegates assembly of the association. Butler County is one of 11 counties in Region 12, out of 14 districts throughout Missouri.


Cutline: (Left to right) Linda Surber, Butler County Unit president, and Region 12 Vice President Mark Cook, present a $500 grant to instructor Hilary Taylor along with Candace Warren, Junior High principal, on Monday, Aug. 14.

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