|01-27-2009, 01:35 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Helen Keller teaches KES students about determination
Helen Keller teaches KES students about determination - Kingston, MA - Kingston Reporter
Second-graders at Kingston Elementary School watched with rapt attention as the woman on stage buried her face in a chocolate cake, then rubbed her face and hands on her pinafore, trying to hide her crime.
But Helen Keller couldn’t see the brown stain smeared across the white pinafore or the chocolate on her face. Her mother caught her, but a tantrum ensured she wouldn’t get in trouble.
Helen Keller, the blind and deaf woman whose life inspired many and proved that deaf-mute people are not dumb when she graduated from college and began a writing career that spanned 12 books, was the subject of a one-woman show at KES last Thursday. Her life is a testament to perseverance, according to the actress who plays her, Sheryl Faye.
“I used to play Amelia Earhart and Clara Barton, but Helen is my favorite character to play,” Faye said.
The tantrums occurred before Helen’s teacher, Annie Sullivan, came into the picture. After “Teacher” entered 7-year-old Helen’s life, tantrums did no good.
“I threw the napkin on the floor, she made me pick it up,” a voice, the recorded narrator of Helen’s story, told the children. Faye mimed being dragged across the stage, forced to bend over and pick up the invisible napkin. “I threw it again, she made me pick it up again.”
Eventually, Faye shows us, Helen did learn to curb her temper, communicate not just her wants and needs, but her ideas. She was the first blind-deaf person to graduate from college when she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Radcliffe College. She almost married the man hired as her secretary as she wrote one of her books, but her mother forbade it. A chorus of second grade “ewes” filled the room when Faye mimed kissing Peter Fagan.
After her presentation, which seemed to have some believing the actress was actually blind and deaf, Faye answered questions about Helen.
“Why wouldn’t her mother let Helen marry Peter?”
“We don’t really know, but we think her mother wouldn’t let her marry Peter possibly because she was so famous, and she thought Peter just wanted some of that fame and money. Her mother wasn’t sure if he truly loved her.”
As Faye said goodbye, students filed past her, touching the bumps in a book written in Braile, similar to one Helen would have used.
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller