The Power of Collaboration

We will be transported to the Polynesian Islands this weekend, as our Grade 6 students sing and dance their way through two smashing productions of Moana Jr. 

The Grade 6 Musical is always a highlight of our students’ Middle School experience–we often hear that, for some, it’s their favorite memory from WES. 

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of observing one of their rehearsals. Standing mid-court of the Deighton Alleyne Gymnasium two hours after classes ended, our gym was alive with energy and collaboration. One of our alumni was teaching choreography to a group of students, sharing the staging techniques she had learned since her own graduation from WES. 

Two students from Grades 7 and 8 were huddled in the back of the gym, building a complicated set piece. Next to them was a student learning the music cues and running the tracks for the rehearsal. On the gym floor, a few feet from the stage, were current eighth-graders working and experimenting with lighting design, as they set the mood for the scene that was being rehearsed. 

As I turned to the back, I saw two Grade 8 boys working hard to set up our brand new wireless microphone system, and two of our lead actresses from our 2020 musical Frozen, Jr. assisting the current Moana actresses in memorizing lines and lending some acting tips along the way. 

Let’s also not forget about the donation of strawberry-banana smoothies from a parent to provide a little energy for our hard-working actors and crew 🙂 Or the colorful and detailed costumes designed by Nurse Bailey, the vocal training provided by Alicia Knox, the set-building expertise that our facilities team lended, the support from Jon Marshall and Barbara Burkhardt (our Grade 6 homeroom teachers), or our dedicated Performing Arts Director Ron Valenzia, who makes the magic happen year after year. 

Typically when we reflect on the Grade 6 musical, we speak about its role in building confidence and public-speaking skills in our Dragons. But it’s also a beautiful reflection of our community, of the power of collaboration. Working together, our students, faculty, and parents are creating a meaningful work of art as well as memories that will last decades for our students. 

Our students enjoyed a preview of the show yesterday and today, and I invite you all to join us this weekend for one of our two inspiring performances.


Danny Vogelman

Head of School