The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 31, 2010

Pymatuning Socrates Cafe offers an opportunity for community discussion


Star Beacon

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — As the saying goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Pymatuning Valley High School opened March with a roar and one of its most unique and interesting programs – The Socrates Café.

The Café was established several years ago at PV by English teacher Janet Britton, and it is currently facilitated by science teacher Anne Siembor. Students, teachers and community members are welcome to gather at the high school lecture room to discuss a topic – usually a topic that provokes questions and debates and inspires people to take a position and stand for it.

March 10 saw the third discussion for this year with the topic “by whose standards?” The discussion was moderated by business teacher Andrea Wonderling. The discussion ranged from scoring gymnastics to the definitions of beauty.

Teachers are not always the moderators. February’s discussion was moderated by senior Luke Bettcher. Bettcher’s topic was “defining humanity.” He says that his favorite part of participating in the hour-long evening discussion is the amount of communication you get.

“It really influences your views,” Bettcher said.

The planned Socrates Café for April 14 is also to be led by a senior, Greg Sili.

“It’s a place where community and students come together to talk about ideas, issues and concerns that are global and local,” Sili said.

Sili’s opinion of the café is one that is echoed by many. He described the café as an eye-opening experience that really changed his view of his community. He has discovered at the cafés some modern Socrates philosophers right here in the local community.

The next café discussion will be on the topic “What is Music?” and will be held in the high school lecture room at 7 p.m. April 14. The café lasts an hour and there is complimentary coffee and cookies as well. For more information, contact Anne Siembor at the high school 440 293-6263.

Coming in like a lion with rich discussions, PV is headed out of March on lighter notes, but not exactly as gentle as a lamb, with the PV Drama Community putting on the famous Frank Loesser musical, “Guys and Dolls.” The 1950 musical is the second production this school year under the direction of Maribeth Miltner, choir and drama director at PV.

The role of Adelaide is being performed by Tiffany Payne who is so excited about her role and the play.

“It is just the funniest thing you will see,” Payne said.

Payne’s on-stage boyfriend is Alex Jones, who plays the non-committal Nathan Detroit. The two were previously paired as mother and son in last year’s “The King and I,” but Payne says that their new dynamic works just as well.

Payne and Jones’ storyline is the subplot to Sky Masterson and Sister Sarah Brown’s unlikely romance. Sky is played by senior Jake Sabeh, who describes his character as a smooth-talking, handsome gambler.

Sabeh loves the role of Sky because of the freedom of expression. “I can say it how I like,” he said.

The lively musical is full of puns and dancing. Senior Laura Copeland, one of the Hotbox dancers, says it is hard to learn all the dancing.

“When the scenery and costumes are on, it is so much easier because (her) character is really in it,” Copeland said.

“Guys and Dolls” will play at the Veteran’s Memorial Performing Arts Center Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday’s performance is at 2 p.m.

 For more information on tickets and times, contact Maribeth Miltner at the high school, 440-293-6263.