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Local students bring “On Applebee’s Pond” to life

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

(Left to right) Cast members Mykenzie Connally, Stephanie Polach, Madison Morgan and Dustin Steiger pose with their characters.

Childlike wonder has the ability to bring life to the inanimate and to stoke the imagination. It’s this wonder that turns a twig into a sword and transforms an empty cardboard box into a mighty castle. It’s also this wonder that makes “On Applebee Pond” work so well.

The students of Saegertown Elementary have recently welcomed “Arnold Applebee” and the cast of the educational puppet show “On Applebee Pond” to their school.

The cast includes juniors Oliver Smith, Aaron Brown, and Carson Jones, and seniors Stephanie Polach, Mykenzie Connally, Madison Morgan, and Dustin Steiger.

“On Applebee Pond” was created by The Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission (MCBHC) in order to help educate children about the issues surrounding drug abuse and mental health in a fun and entertaining way. In the past, Saegertown had a group of student performers, but there had been no group in recent years. PENNCREST sister schools Cambridge and Maplewood have active OAPB groups as well.

On Feb. 8, the cast performed their first show, and, as of now, the program has been been a success. “I think it’s a great program for the kids to hear the puppets tell real life stories they can relate to and have fun while they’re doing it,” said kindergarten teacher Mrs. Debbie Richardson.

“I love it,” said senior Stephanie Polach. “I love seeing their [the kids’] reactions. They get so excited. I think the kids really enjoy it.”

The cast plans to continue performing on Wednesday mornings and afternoons, though the schedule is subject to change.

With any luck, “On Applebee Pond” will continue to provide a fun, educational experience for students at Saegertown Elementary, bringing to life the childlike wonder that we all know and love.

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