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Herriman Journal

Life lessons hit home in ‘It’s a Hit’ performance

Jun 04, 2024 10:09AM ● By Jet Burnham

Butterfield Canyon Elementary first, second and third graders perform “It’s a Hit.” (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Students learned important life lessons by participating in Butterfield Canyon Elementary School’s May 15-16 musical production of “It’s a Hit,” a play about a girl whose pitching abilities are underestimated by her baseball team and coach.

“They’re down 10 to 2, and she convinces the coach to just put her in and show him,” director and first grade teacher Carol Hoffer said. “Well, she does prove that she does know what she’s doing, but it’s not really about the girl, it’s about the team working together.”

Hoffer said she selected the play for its messages of teamwork, unity and self-confidence.

“So not only do the kids get to learn to perform, but they get to practice some of those values because they hear it over and over during the rehearsals,” Hoffer said. “I want them to learn that it’s really all about teamwork and supporting each other and building each other up.”

Third-grader Lily Selman, who played the role of the girl who wanted to pitch, said what she learned from the play was “it’s nice to be proactive and do the right thing.”

Second-grader Brennan McKelvey said the message of the play was “that everyone can play anything.”

First-grader Piper Fuga learned “to be a better sport,” and second-grader Carlyn Dietz learned to “never give up.”

In addition to the moral lessons, Hoffer also chose the play because it had opportunities for all 72 cast members to shine.

Hoffer casts only lower grade students—first, second and third graders—in her annual theatrical productions because they usually have limited opportunities to participate in the school’s music programs.

“The older grades always have these fun opportunities, but everybody thinks that first and third graders, they’re just too little,” Hoffman said. “Having taught first grade for 13 years, I know these kids have abilities, and so I just wanted to showcase what they really can do. They are really very good at performing and learning songs and choreography. They really can shine.”

Speaking parts are assigned to as many kids as possible, even if it’s just one line.

“We try to get them all just a little bit of standing in that spotlight and being in front of an audience to build up their confidence in their ability to speak in public,” Hoffer said.

For some, it is a challenge.

Piper was nervous about saying her line in front of the audiences at both the daytime show for students and the evening show for parents.

“She actually didn’t want a speaking part,” Piper’s mom said. “Mrs. Hoffer said ‘Why don’t you just try it, it’ll help you get over your fear,’ and she did it and she did great!”

Hoffer received a lot of support from staff members and parents who helped with sets, choreography and costumes. Parents fully funded the $400 online fundraiser for baseball caps in just two hours, and the PTA provided a grant to purchase the $100 play script. Sixth-grade students helped backstage and Hoffer’s husband Steven ran the music.

This was the fifth year Hoffer has directed a school play, which alternates between a spring musical and a holiday show, giving students a chance to develop talents and confidence.

 “Not all of them are in athletic activities after school,” Hoffer said. “This just gives them another opportunity to do something kind of big and kind of important for little kids.” λ

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