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[OCT. 10, 2001] “The
Secret School" by AVI. Harcourt, Inc., 2001, 153 pages.
is a historical novel set in 1925. The main character is Ida Binson,
a 14-year-old girl living on a farm in rural Elk Grove, Colo. Her
family consists of Father, Mother, her 7-year-old brother, Felix,
and baby Shelby.
and Felix attend a one-room schoolhouse with six other students. Ida
is in her last year at the country school and hopes to be able to
attend the high school in town so that she can study to be a
live 5 miles, one way, from the school, so their father lets Ida
drive the family’s Model T Ford. Ida is 4-foot-11 and unable to
reach the floor or the pedals, so she kneels on the seat to shift
and steer while Felix, sitting on the floor of the car, works the
gas pedal, clutch and brake with his hands.
the story begins, the children arrive at school one day to find out
that their teacher, Miss Fletcher, has been called home to Iowa to
take care of her ailing mother. Mr. Jordon, the head of the local
school board, tells the children that it is too late in the year to
hire another teacher, so he is closing the school until next year.
The children will not be able to take the competency tests, so they
will all have to repeat the same grade next year.
and her best friend, Tom, are especially upset because they will not
be able to go to high school for another year. Mr. Jordon is not
the least sympathetic to Ida’s distress because he doesn’t see
the need for a girl to go to high school anyway.
suggests that Ida become their teacher but that it would have to be
kept a secret from the school board. Ida thinks about it overnight
and discusses it with her parents. She agrees to do it on the
condition that all of the children go along with the idea. The
children take a vote and the secret school is born.
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the teacher is, at the same time, exciting and fearful for Ida. She
conducts the classroom the same as Miss Fletcher did, and the
children do well and accept her as their teacher.
due to an unfortunate confrontation Ida has with one of the parents,
Mr. Jordon finds out that she has been teaching, shows up at the
school and sends the children home. Ida is sure now that she will
never get to go to high school or become a teacher.
of the boys finds out about a secret school board meeting, and Tom
prints flyers to let the parents know about it. To the surprise of
the superintendent, all of the children’s parents come to the
meeting, and Ida presents her case for keeping the school open. The
outcome of the meeting leaves Ida facing an even bigger challenge
book is recommended for ages 8 to 12 years old. It gives a glimpse
into the past of one-room education that is truly fascinating. It is
a very enjoyable story of children taking control of a bad
has written many acclaimed books for children, including two Newbery
Honor books, "Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel"
and the "True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle."
more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217)
Harmon, Lincoln Public Library District]
prepare for ‘murderous’ fun
11, 2001] Lincoln
Community High School’s Fine Arts Department will present their
fall play on Oct. 12, 13 and 14 in the LCHS auditorium. "Murder
in the Magnolias," by Tim Kelly, is a comic parody of the
"southern murder mystery" genre, complete with a variety
of obvious copies of characters from Tennessee Williams’ plays.
will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, and continue with a
performance on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. and another on Sunday,
Oct. 14, at 3 p.m.
cast includes Kerry Dobihal, who plays Amanda Chickenwing, an
eccentric woman devoted to her botanical garden, which has been
known to attack people. Col. Rance Chickenwing (Amanda’s brother),
played by Patrick Perry, "kicks the bucket" literally, and
leaves behind a mansion that is not in the best condition to say the
least. Collin Voyles and Adam Voyles play Thornbird Chickenwing III,
a southern writer whose personality is split so many ways that he’s
fractured. A distant, distant, distant, relation to the colonel,
Thornbird, like so many others, has come for the reading of the
Lotta Kargo, played by Heather Bean, is a flamboyant celebrity who
claims to have married the colonel. Betsy Buttell plays the princess’
secretary, Lorraine, an intelligent young woman not keen on staying
at Belle Acres. Her feelings are mirrored by many others who have
encountered the Voodoo Woman, played by Julie Wood. Eric Agostino,
as Pete Bogg, the engineer who gets caught up in the fiasco, is the
only other character who brings a ray of normalcy to the cast.
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Shelley plays Jezabel, the lazy and unpaid housekeeper. Sheriff
Billy Jerk, the biggest man in Tudball County, who tries to solve
the mystery but without much luck, is played by Beau Hanger. Brian
Welter, playing nutty lawyer Possum, who once had an alligator for a
client, is at the mansion for the reading of the will. Bubba
Kamrowski, played by Stanton Schumacher, is a distant, distant,
distant relative who leaves his job in "show business" to
claim his piece of the will, and Blanche du Blank, Callie Davison,
shares his interest.
directors Kelly Dowling and Doug Rohrer have been helping the cast
and crews prepare for opening night, overseeing the creation of an
attack bird, a killer honeysuckle vine and a couple of voodoo dolls,
all of which are (more-or-less) crucial to the plot of the show. The
crew has also spent the last three Saturdays "building" a
replica of "Belle Acres" for the setting of the show.
($3 for adults and $2 for students) may be purchased at the door.
a friend about
staff offers more than 25 years of experience in the
the corner of Woodlawn and Business 55
It's FREE! --
Lincoln Community Theatre website
Community Theatre’s website serves a number of functions, from providing information on
becoming a season ticket holder to showing what new productions are
being planned. Pictures from past productions are also
Visit LCT’s website at www.geocities.com/lincolncommunitytheatre/index.html,
e-mail LCT at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or write to Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln,
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