Reader's Theater Opens at Washington Elementary School in Summit

Washington Elementary School students from Cheryl Brennan's fifth-grade class read from scripts during a presentation on the recently opened reader's theater yesterday

SUMMIT, NJ - After seeing numerous reports of school budgets cuts across New Jersey, some readers may be surprised to learn that one education center was able to expand. A gathering in Summit on Wednesday celebrated such a happening—the addition of an outdoor theater.

Lauren Banker, the principal of Washington Elementary School in Summit, conducted a ceremony for the opening of a reader's theater, located just outside of the building where she works. The event took place by the theater. The theater consists of a stage slightly elevated above the ground with ten benches facing it.

Various members of the local community shared the responsibility of creating this new space. Banker, basic skills teacher Natalie Cassidy and librarian Cindy Hedin collaborated on the idea of crafting an outdoor theater for the school, according to Cassidy and Hedin. Banker said that funding for the project came from the Washington Elementary School PTA and the Summit Educational Foundation. According to a press release provided at the event, Halls Garden Center in Berkeley Heights and Home Depot also provided support for building the theater.

Several volunteers constructed the theater, the bulk of the work completed by residents Ed McDonnell and Perry Zipf, according to Banker. "They physically built this for us," Banker said. "We didn't have to hire a contractor." According to Hedin, McDonnell's and Zipf's efforts were paramount to the success of the project. "They deserve a whole lot of credit," Hedin said.

The completed theater was used by students of Washington Elementary School during the ceremony to demonstrate their artistic skills to the people attending the event. With student Christian Greer playing a guitar, a selected choir of children sang for the audience. Afterwards, Joanne Balzano's first-grade students performed a rendition of the well-known story, "Jack and the Beanstalk." Cheryl Brennan's fifth-grade students presented last, performing Judith Voirst's poem, "If I Were in Charge of the World."

The theater will be home to more than this ceremony, according to Banker. She said that the space will be used by students in all grade levels of Washington Elementary School for various academic activities, including performing projects and observing nature. While budget cuts in the state may bring down the curtains for programs in other schools, Washington has different plans for their stage.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Wed, May 23, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Ages 1 yr.-K: Storytime Squad

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, May 23, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Storytime Squad

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, May 23, 12:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Age 1 yr.-K: Storytime Squad

Arts & Entertainment Education

Summit Police Blotter

May 17, 2018

4/24 - At 0728 hours a report was taken for a theft of two (2) sandwiches from a business on Morris Avenue. The manager reported that at approximately 0330 hours a male entered the business and removed two sandwiches from a refrigerated case. After doing so, he exited the store without paying for them. The male suspect was described as Hispanic, approximately 6’0”wearing a blue/gray ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Talks Current Events That Could Be Market Movers

May 22, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on CNBC discussing events that could move the market this week:

​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

Dietze Attends Dartmouth Alumni Council Meeting

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, recently took part in the 216th meeting of Dartmouth's Alumni Council in Hanover, NH.

The Dartmouth Alumni Council's mission is to connect Dartmouth alumni to the College and each other.

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Managing the Ups and Downs of First-Time Homebuying

They accepted our offer, now what?

At times both equally exhilarating and terrifying, the purchase of a home can be a total roller coaster ride -- especially when it is your first time going through the process. Between suddenly being expected to understand the intricacies of contracts and the inner workings of a home, you are also expected to start writing checks for amounts you may ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...