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Jacy Walker, director, strives to emphasize soft skills to her Simle Middle School students. The Simle Middle School Theater Program is one way for young people to acquire those skills, in addition to singing, acting and dancing.

“It makes me a better actor, a better singer and a better person overall," said Taylor Malloy, a seventh-grader.

The program has nearly doubled in size in three years. This year’s production, "Guys and Dolls Jr." consists of three performances at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday in the Simle Auditorium. The production involves 75 actors and 11 tech students. The program builds on student interests, ranging from acting to helping with lights, music and scene changes. Simle’s program also improves the student’s dancing skills with the help of Vanessa Lange, choreographer.

“I think the theater program is a great experience for people to get out of their shell and try something new," said Mia Straley, an eighth-grader who has been involved in musicals for the past three years.

Many students, who participate, say they are learning leadership, compassion, cooperation, how to compromise and celebrate the success of hard work.

“Theater is a huge part of my life, so I love Simle’s Theater Program," said Trace Tysver, a sixth-grader.

The Simle Middle School Theater Program also helps create lasting friendships unlike any other.

“When you are around your friends, the fun has no end," said Gryffen Sailer, an eighth-grader.

Jacy Walker, director, strives to emphasize the importance of these soft skills the students are learning. Simle students know that under her direction, with the help of parent volunteers, set and tech director Keaton Walker, and production assistants Al Kary, and Vanessa Martell the theater program at Simle will thrive for years to come.

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