High school goes ‘under the sea’ this spring

Caroline Rasmussen, chief financial officer of Agricultural Modeling and Training Systems, presents to students in Groton High Schoo’s STEAM Learning Center.
Caroline Rasmussen, chief financial officer of Agricultural Modeling and Training Systems, presents to students in Groton High Schoo’s STEAM Learning Center.
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On the heels of the 30th anniversary of the Walt Disney film, “The Little Mermaid” in 2019, the Groton High School Drama Club has just begun rehearsing the stage version of the same title for its 15th anniversary in 2020 of high school musicals under the club’s director, Annette Twitchell.

Twitchell brought musicals back to the Groton stage for the first time in two decades with “The Wizard of Oz” in 2006. Each year since has continued to bring talented students together with some amazing musical productions that have rivaled Broadway in our little town.

Casting took place just prior to the holiday break in December, and the following students are working hard already for their performances in March.
Morgan Dittman will play the lead role of Ariel, alongside Sam Young, who will play Prince Eric. Ariel’s father, King Triton, the ruler of Atlantica, will be played by Evan Carlo, and Michaeline Lauchle will play the role of the sea witch, Ursula, who holds a secret vendetta against the king.

Ursula’s sidekicks, her symbiotic pet eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, will be played by Leanna Jackson and Sarah Dean, respectively, while King Triton’s advisor, the crab named Sebastian, will be played by Elijah Griep. Darian Mitchell will play Prince Eric’s valet, Grimsby, and Braedy Dilger will model the mad and zany cooking expertise of Chef Louis as he plays that role.

Ariel’s best friend, Flounder, will be played by Jaiden Mitchell, and Alyssa Fennimore was cast as the seagull, Scuttle, who often leads Ariel astray with his inaccurate knowledge of humans and their culture.

The role of Windward will be played by Brynn Blasz, Willow Orr will play Leeward, Donovan Mitchell will be Pilot, and Averie Roberts is Aquata.
Brooke Brecht, Chloe Conger, Madison Howell, Dianna Niño and Mandy Wolchetsky will have various roles as mersisters, princesses and maids, and Devon Klein is cast in a specific role as Maid 1. Leanna Jackson, Sarah Dean and Framke Vitale have all been cast as the Gulls.

The company’s chorus, made up of sailors, sea creatures, chefs and animals, will feature Justin Batzer, Brynn Blasz, Lena Brehm, Mathias Brehm, Megan Cute, Julia Garcia, Devon Klein, Donovan Mitchell, Diella Niño, Willow Orr, Devyn Roberts, Alyssa Slater, Elly Sturmer, Framke Vitale, Stefanie Walberger and Tristin Weeks.

Twitchell said she was looking forward to the beginning of the rehearsals throughout the break.

“We have a number of students with great talent returning to the stage, and we have a number of students in grades nine through 12 who have decided to join us for the first time,” she said. “We have a great cast.”

Twitchell also said this show will be a challenge to stage.

“For example, I have been working on ways to create effects that will give the appearance of water,” she said. “The costumes will be a lot of fun for both the cast members and the audience, and the music has a few extra numbers that are not in the film. This show is going to be a crowd-pleaser for sure.”

The performances will be in March, but anyone who has either experienced the caliber of Groton’s musicals or have even just heard about them knows how important it is to get the dates on one’s calendar as soon as possible.

This year’s dates are Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m. and two performances on Saturday, March 21 at 1 and 7 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for children and students.

Video Contest for STEAM students

Carline Rasmussen, CFO of Agricultural Modeling & Training Systems (ATMS), an international agricultural-based company located on East Groton Avenue right here in Groton, and her team gave a presentation this past December to a rapt audience of students in Groton High School’s STEAM Learning Center.

Rasmussen and company educated students about the intricacies of their business, including how ATMS got started, the development of their computer programming and their individual career journeys that led them to ATMS.
As a result, ATMS is now teaming up with the STEAM department to offer students a chance to compete in a video contest about “How technology in agriculture has improved quality of life.”

Students will work across programs to create a two-to-three-minute video highlighting the positive impact of technology in the agriculture industry.

AMTS will feature the top five videos on its Facebook page, where people can vote for their favorites. Winners will be revealed on The Nutritionist webinar on May 8.

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, lmc10@cornell.edu or 607-227-4922.

In brief:

It’s tax time!

Just a reminder that your town and county tax bill must be paid in full by Friday, Jan. 31 to avoid the accrual of interest. See your tax bill for applicable interest charges thereafter. There is an extended deadline of Friday, Feb. 7 for qualifying senior citizens who pay their bill in full by that date. Qualifications are listed on your tax bill, or you may call the Groton Town Clerk’s Office at (607) 898-5035 to inquire.

Tax bills paid by escrow accounts have been mailed to your bank, but if you do not have an escrow account, and have not yet received your bill, you should call the office, as you will still be responsible for payment.

Tax payments will be received at the office, 101 Conger Blvd., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until Tuesday, March 31. The office will be open from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturdays during January only. For online payments of taxes, see townofgrotonny.org for details.

Happening at the library

The monthly meeting of the Groton Public Library Board of Trustees will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14. All meetings are open to the public.
GPL’s monthly book club will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. Stop in for a copy of this month’s read, “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, and make plans to join the discussion at this popular monthly meeting.

If you’re not a fan of reading but love to play games, Thursday is also the night for adult board games and snacks from 6 to 8 p.m. Anyone 18 and over is welcome to play any of the great games the library has – or bring your own. Game night is a regular occurrence on the first and third Thursdays of every month.

Babysitting Course

Groton Recreation will offer the Red Cross Babysitting Certification course on Sunday, Feb. 9. This class is recommended for ages 11 and up, and there are only 12 spots available. Visit https://tshq.bluesombrero.com/grotonrecreation to register.

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