Awareness and choices will be the themes in a special appearance in Berkeley Tuesday, Oct. 15, by the MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe.
MWAH!, which is directed by Elmhurst resident and founder Ray Moffitt, is a group of 12- to 18-year-old performers from schools throughout the western suburbs. The nonprofit troupe is affiliated with Kids Do Count Inc. and the Chicago Area Project, a grass-roots service and advocacy program based in Chicago and part of a state-wide community services network targeting at-risk youth and their families.
The 90-minute issues-oriented assembly at Berkeley's MacArthur Middle School will focus on the recent influx of narcotics in the western suburbs, which is resulting in tragic consequences for area teenagers. The troupe also will focus on the sentencing last month of a driver in an aerosol huffing-related crash in western Illinois that killed three teens, and the cyberbullying-related suicide five weeks ago of a 12-year-old.
In a positive contrast, various recent success stories involving MacArthur Middle School students will be highlighted, including a musical "payback" to three MacArthur students who have shown extraordinary empathy and sensitivity towards their classmates during some tough times.
Using various performing arts forms, the students also will focus on other true-story issues, include the challenges of dealing with divorce and family break-ups, coping with racial and ethnic discrimination and the appropriate handling of abusive situations, both at school at home, including current procedures at MacArthur for dealing with bullying.
The essence of the 12-member MWAH! ensemble—an acronym for Messages Which Are Hopeful—is real-life drama combined with contemporary music and lots of audience interaction.
- To see what MWAH! is all about, check out this video of the group in action at Wilson Middle School in Moline.
A key objective on Tuesday will be to cause MacArthur students to think about some real life and death issues presented by peers and then relate the messages to their own lives. In a rousing finale, a number of MacArthur students will join MWAH! troupe members in a choreographed hip hop dance finale that they will rehearse earlier on Tuesday morning.
School principal Scott Savage and school counselor Caitlin Gannon arranged for the troupe’s appearance at MacArthur. Further information about the MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe is available on its website at www.mwah.net.