Celebrity Sisters Encourage Students To Shine, And Read
She melted hearts as Elsa in “Frozen” and defied gravity as Elphaba in “Wicked.” Recently, Broadway actress Idina Menzel took center stage with her sister - author and teacher Cara Mentzel - at New Prospect Elementary School. The superstar sisters stopped by to share their new book, “Proud Mouse.”
New Prospect Assistant Principal, Margaret Moore, says school leaders were “beside ourselves excited” when they found out about the visit.
As Idina and Cara took the stage in the cafeteria, the audience was filled with the buzz of excited students – and the timing of the visit could not have been better.
This school year, New Prospect’s focus is on the theme, “Grow, Celebrate, Matter.”
“Proud Mouse” is the second book released by Idina and Cara – a follow-up to their first book, “Loud Mouse.” The message of both books encourages all students to shine.
Students played a leading role in getting ready for the visit.
“They’re making posters in their room about how they shine in their classrooms,” says New Prospect Principal Amy Lemons.
The visit was orchestrated by Lithonia-based non-profit - Page Turners Make Great Learners.
Kevin Robinson is the program specialist for Media Services in Fulton County Schools and says he knew the visit would work well with the department’s focus on creating what he calls a “culture of reading.”
“It is great for the kids to have an author coming in and visit and actually introduce a new book and get them really excited about reading,” Robinson says.
The visit from the famous sisters is only part of what Media Services does to spark the love of reading.
“We’re doing anything we can to assist the teachers and staff with getting kids to be able to express themselves,” Robinson says.
Robinson says the goal is to “learn something more” about the deeper messages in the books, “It’s really just giving them the chance to not just sit there and read or listen or just have to passively talk about it – but to get into the book.”
Along with celebrity visits, Media Services uses a variety of tools, from problem-solving with LEGO blocks to dissecting themes in podcasts. The department has even set up fashion design centers, complete with books on sewing and business, for students interested in the industry.
“We are really trying to find different ways to build that reading culture, to expose them to different things and to give them the chance to express themselves,” says Robinson.
Students at New Prospect were certainly not shy about expressing their excitement during this week’s visit. They got to perform a song for their special guests, composed by music teacher Kathleen Ingraham.
“It was perfect,” says Principal Lemons.
The day ended with an extra-special surprise – every student and staff member went home with an autographed copy of "Proud Mouse.”