Lights, Camera, Action!

Almond Acres Charter Academy middle school students are acting on a stage dressed in costumes. In the forefront of the picture, two students are recording the production.

Over the last two years, our annual theater production has looked a little different due to the pandemic and our move to a new school building, but this year we are back and bigger than ever with a show everyone is sure to love! Our middle school drama students are excited to welcome a live audience to our student-led performance of The Lion King, Jr. on Saturday, December 17th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 18th at 2 p.m. at the Paso Robles Youth Arts Center. The shows are open to the public and tickets can be purchased at this link for $10. 

Dena Vertrees, this year’s director and producer, as well as an AACA 4th grade teacher, has been working with students and volunteers to make this year’s show the best yet. Our talented cast of 4th-8th grade  students have been hard at work, spending countless hours both during and after school to prepare for the production. These productions are unique because we allow a lot of freedom for the students to help create the play: from acting to curtains and even working backstage to move the sets, the students learn valuable skills like teamwork, patience and responsibility. 

The synergy that is born out of the students’ creative collaboration is always appreciated by the audience and the effects of their hard work are lasting. Take it from the students in past performances, like Madagascar, our theater productions grow great kids: 

 I like to pretend to be someone I am not, and I like that I can put a lot of my emotion into something. I can go on a whole journey with my character. My biggest highlight of the show was spending time with the whole cast because I made stronger relationships with some people and the cast was awesome!

Divy Emmons, who starred as Marty the Zebra in the 2020 performance of Madagascar.

As always, our efforts are made better by the volunteers who contribute their time and expertise. This year Shiloh Hamon is the lead costume designer, Geoff Higgins is the lead set designer and Wendy Woodard and Ashley Lundy have choreographed the show. They are joined by cast member parents who support the production in all areas. Every member of the design department is a volunteer and helps support the students to create a visually stunning and enjoyable performance. 

You won’t want to miss this one! Bring your children, the grandparents and neighbors to this year’s production of The Lion King Jr. on December 17th & 18th. The costumes, action and sets are sure to delight all ages! 

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

The Shows Must Go On!

Lights. Camera. Action! The pandemic didn’t stop our annual talent show or theatre efforts. 

Instead of our annual theatre production, our eighth graders filmed a movie. We were thrilled to work with Paso Robles Youth Arts Center and are grateful for their partnership during COVID restrictions to make this movie happen.  Our movie is called, “ Precisely the Right Price” and with a small donation, anyone can watch it.  Download your copy today

Almond Acres Charter Academy students onstage and in a movie with Paso Robles Youth Arts Center

We love it when we get to work with local  businesses, organizations, and individuals to support our youth and community. A special thanks to the talented Claire Fundaro who wrote and directed the show and the creative Ryan Flores for making magic with tech and lights! Our students are so fortunate to learn from both of these talented and generous humans.

Also, we’d like to give a shout-out to Eileen Higgins and Amy Baker for believing that the arts belong in school and helping make this production happen. 

“Almond Acres offers a unique opportunity for its students through the process of production. The lessons that are taught in theatre will impact all aspects of these students’ lives. They’re given the chance to grow their confidence from auditioning, to rehearsing in front of their peers, and to the final product which creates a strong character within them. The process is invaluable, and I’m so grateful to be a part of the magic that only theatre can create.” 

~Claire Fundaro
Almond Acres Charter Academy student on a stage in character for a movie created with Paso Robles Youth Arts Center

Almond Acres’ Got Talent! 

Over 30 submissions this year! Our students submitted a two-minute video showcasing their talents. Once all the videos were submitted, we released them for viewing and commenting. Many classes had a “Talent Show Viewing Party”! Our AACA students have so many talents: from singing and dancing, to horseback riding and crafting!

Almond Acres Charter Academy knows that learning is most impactful when creativity is involved. 

About Almond Acres

Every child is unique. At Almond Acres tuition-free public charter school, we serve grades K-8 and we educate the whole child: heart, mind, body, and soul.  Our focus on meaningful educational experiences within our community embraces service and project-based learning.  We also emphasize character development and strong citizenship standards alongside our robust curriculum. We are enrolling now. We grow great kids!