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West Valley City Journal

Hunter High special education students perform in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ adaptation

Jan 06, 2023 11:53AM ● By Anna Pro

Special ed students at Hunter High partnered with the school’s performing arts team to adapt “Beauty and the Beast.” (Photo courtesy of Hunter High)

The Hunter High Unified Performing Arts team partnered with the school’s special education students to present a heartwarming version of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Drama teacher Kjersti Parkes and her students worked to create a simplified version of the Disney tale which would be more accessible to those students in special ed classes. Special education students star in the production, with many taking on lead roles.

“I just wanted to provide a place for these kids to shine on stage,” Parkes said. “The students are having the best time and it’s so cute because you see the students in the hall, and they’ve just become best friends.”

The play was performed in December at Hunter High.

“It’s amazing to see regular education students interacting with special education students as peers,” said Jessica Coffey, Hunter High special education teacher. “Sometimes I feel our students get a little bit secluded in our classrooms and it’s great to see them all working together and just being friends.

“I have absolutely loved seeing these kids get out of their shells, so many of them are just so shy in class you’d never think that they’d dance and sing the way that they do, and it’s been amazing to see them just open up.”