Lehigh Valley

Parkland High performs '26 Pebbles', play about Newtown shooting

"This is…this is a tough one."

NORTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - Students at Parkland High School are taking on a tough subject - a play about Newtown, Connecticut.

And they say there are 26 reasons why it's imperative we all see it.

"This show has a message that I feel needs to be portrayed," says Parkland High School senior Daniel Stewart.

When his fellow students at Parkland decided to do a play about Newtown, Connecticut, they knew it would be a challenge.

"I didn't really know how to feel about it at first," begins junior Alyssa Yocum.

"This is…this is a tough one," smiles Mark Stutz, Director of Visual and Performing Arts for Parkland School District.

But after reading “26 Pebbles,” Stutz told his students it was important.

Parkland High School students have created a bond with the kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the high school in Parkland, Florida where a mass shooting happened on Valentine's Day.

"It was time for us to take sort of a social responsibility," Stutz says.

Now, their thoughts are taking center stage.

"Because it's our generation that this is happening to. It has happened before, but it's largely cast upon us," Stewart says.

The play is about the town of Newtown before and after the tragic 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. All the students play adults, there's no graphic violence, and the students say it doesn't focus on the politics of gun control.

It's about people.

"It's got some warmth and also has a thought-provoking questions, not a lot of answers, but a lot of questions," Stutz says.

It's no mystery the subject matter is heavy. Some of the students had a tough time making it through their scenes in the beginning. But how many times have we already seen this generation dig deep?

"They exceeded my expectations. They usually do," Stutz smiles proudly.

"There's hope even in the worst moments and that you can have hope for the town," says Yocum.

The play runs Friday, October 12, through Sunday October 14 at Parkland High School.


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