U.S. history classes take field trip to Coterie Theater

History teacher Craig Whitney brought his U.S. History students to see a play at the Coterie Theater on Oct. 6.


Audience members look through their programs before the play, which took place on a Confederate flag painted floor. photo by Zoe Butler

by Zoe Butler, Features Editor

Social studies teacher Craig Whitney took his classes to see The Nine Who Dared: Courage in Little Rock. This interactive drama portrays defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement that occurred in 1957 Little Rock, Arkansas.

After receiving a flyer in the mail from the Coterie Theater, Whitney first had the idea of taking students to this play.

“My first instinct was to try and get every junior to go for American history,” Whitney said. “So I called the Coterie Theater, but they had no date where they could accommodate 140, 150 people.”

Although not every junior was able to attend this field trip, the ones that did found it to be a moving experience.

“I thought it was a really good learning opportunity,” junior Natalie Kistler said. “I had no idea what to expect when I went. I knew about how terrible the conditions were and everything, but I didn’t know the extent to which it was and getting to see the emotions on the actors faces made it real.”

Whitney finds this type of field trip beneficial, even though his students aren’t currently learning about this time period.

“Now [my students are] in a position where when we do talk about post-World War II Civil Rights Movement, [they’re] gonna still be able to reflect on that,” Whitney said. “[They’re] gonna still be able to have a better sense of it.”

Whitney tries to find more times he can take students on field trips, because he sees this different way of teaching as being sometimes more powerful.

“There’s value in reading about things, and the discussion that we have, but as soon as you go and see a musical performance or a play or something, it brings it to life, differently,” Whitney said. “I’m guessing that 10 or 20 years from now, you’re more likely to remember something like that than almost anything else.”