South Prairie drama group shines
Award-winning South Prairie High School drama coach Paula Rauschenberger wasn’t ready to stop teaching or coaching kids who love drama after she retired.
Rauschenberger’s 38-year career as a drama coach included stints at schools in Sawyer, Glenburn, Minot High School, and now South Prairie, where her students won the one-act play Region 8 competition two years in a row and placed at the state competition last week.
“It brings joy to see some of these kids that are so shy and then I cast them in the right part and they just blossom,” said Rauschenberger.
Rauschenberger has been teaching English part-time at South Prairie and did not start coaching the drama team until after a previous drama coach left. Last year, she recruited kids to the one-act play team by talking about how Class B school students can be more than athletes and they have many opportunities to shine.
“These kids listened to me because they all showed up at the organizational meeting for one act,” said Rauschenberger.
Rauschenberger said she’s particularly proud of her students because so many of them are young, starting out as eighth graders or freshmen.
Josh Lindbo, a sophomore, won a superior acting award at the state competition even though this is his first year with the group.
Lindbo played the king, a supporting role in “The Princess and the Pirates,” a one-act play about what could happen to a princess who doesn’t do her math lessons.
“It’s definitely a comedy,” said Lindbo, who said a play with a message like that could be boring but this one keeps the audience engaged with the humor.
Lindbo signed up for the group because some of his friends had enjoyed it the previous year. The young actors have been practicing since the start of the school year. He said acting has also helped him gain more confidence in speaking in front of a large group.
Gracie Rauschenberger, a sophomore, played Princess Margaret, the princess who learns how important it is to do her math lessons and other things she does not want to do.
“I don’t like to admit it, but math is not necessarily my favorite subject,” said Gracie Rauschenberger. Gracie, like Princess Margaret, does acknowledge that math is pretty important.
Gracie Rauschenberger said her drama teacher shares her surname because Paula Rauschenberger married a cousin of her family. Paula Rauschenberger has quickly become one of her favorite teachers.
“She’s absolutely amazing,” said Gracie, who said the student actors trust their drama coach and her experience.
Gracie Rauschenberger said she had thought about quitting acting but persisted because Paula Rauschenberger persuaded her to continue.
Paula Rauschenberger said she chooses a play that she knows her students will enjoy and will keep them engaged and casts them carefully. In a small school, she gets to know her students well and knows what parts will suit them.
“I love to build the show from the ground up and to watch what they create with their characterizations,” said Paula Rauschenberger.
She said the students in the theater group are great kids and they have great parents who have been very supportive of the one-act play group.
Doing so well is a success story for all of them, said Paula Rauschenberger.