Sprucing up PHS theater digs

Pelham High School 2006 graduate Liz Cochran is currently preparing for Miss Alabama’s annual Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser Sunday, Dec. 13. The event is set for 2:30 p.m. at PHS’s Auditorium.

“I was delighted that the benefit would be here,” said Cochran’s mother, Laura, who is also the school’s biology teacher and dance team sponsor. “However, our auditorium is constantly used by many groups and our backstage area needed sprucing up.”

Cochran and drama teacher Jamie Stephenson agreed work was needed, not only to host events, but also because they want their students to have the best facility possible.

Money for refurbishing was in short supply so Cochran appealed to a group she counts on often –– her dance team parents.

When my daughter Georgia was on the dance team, I never lived up to the title of dance team parent. I was stunned by the devotion and talent of these committed individuals.

Each year they build a set for the team’s prop novelty competition. Their masterpieces have included a graveyard complete with tombstones, a two-story dollhouse and an impressively lifelike beach scene. Mostly, I tried to stay out of their way and not ruin anything. These parents manage to accomplish the impossible repeatedly.

I caught these devoted dancer parents working several Saturday mornings when I stopped by the school. I knew the project was completed when I began to hear the surprised reactions of the theatre students.

PHS Senior and Thespian Society President Lauren Hendon said, “We couldn’t believe that they painted the backstage area.”

Senior actress Caroline Ponder said, “Mrs. Stephenson told us to check out the dressing room –– it was like Extreme Home Makeover had been here. We were amazed!”

On Dec. 13, when the Children’s Miracle Network Benefit comes to the Pelham High School Auditorium, performers will find the backstage area and dressing room ready for the occasion.

Reigning Miss Alabama Liz Cochran will host talented performers including the PHS Show Choir and Pantherettes Dance Team. Additional featured performers include talented PHS alums Jennifer Neugent and Holly Tkacik, along with Miss Alabama 2008 Amanda Tapley and several top 10 winners from the 2009 Miss Alabama pageant.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. All money raised will be going to the Children’s Miracle Network to benefit Children’s Hospitals including our own Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at CNolen@Shelbyed.k12.al.us.