PACOIMA : Theater Class to Perform Downtown

The theater production class at Pacoima Middle School has been asked to perform at city-sponsored programs to commemorate the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

After viewing a video of a performance by the class, the Martin Luther King Legacy Assn. awarded the school a $500 honorarium to appear at an awards ceremony Downtown on Saturday. Then on Tuesday the students will return Downtown to repeat their performance before the Los Angeles City Council.

The council will present a special certificate of achievement to the class. It's the first such award to be presented by the council to a school arts magnet program.

"I'm always pleased when the kids are recognized in such a positive way," said Aaron Moretzsky, assistant principal at the school.

"The kids don't compete for roles in our magnet program. But this year, we had such a breadth of talent, and such diversity, that it truly is unbelievable."

The performance that got the students the gigs is a 15-minute program during which they sing and recreate Martin Luther King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech.

About 240 of the school's 1,600 students are enrolled in the theater and arts magnet program. Approximately 160 are enrolled in the school's other magnet program in mathematics and computer science.

The theater magnet program at Pacoima Middle School began in 1978. Students in the program enroll in a concentrated curriculum that incorporates fine arts education in virtually all academic subjects.

"Our entire program is related to the arts," said Bobbie Hitch, magnet coordinator for the school. "Arts education is received in social studies, in our history and English classes, where, for example, students would be asked to write a play or script.

"It even extends to physical education, where dance is offered."

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