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Teacher Spotlight: PMSA Teacher Helps Students Excel Through the Arts

Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy may be known for its math and science whiz kids, but with the help of one PMSA teacher, students also excel in the arts.

Ms. Scherer-Emunds has taught theater at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy for six years. She has even taught afterschool theater at Proviso West. Scherer is also sponsor for the award winning PMSA Improv Comedy Troupe. On any given day her class transforms into a scene from Little Red Riding Hood, Shakespeare, or some other funny fairytale that gives her students a creative outlet to express themselves through theater.

“My mom is always calling me a drama queen,” said PMSA freshman Brianna Erskine, as she practiced for her next performance in Ms. Emunds’ class. “I like drama and musicals. My favorite part about Ms. Emunds’ class is just being able to act things out on stage. It’s fun. The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you become with your peers, and it’s really good to have something fun to do besides academics.”

Confidence and drama are just two elements taught in the theater arts program at PMSA. Students also work to master acting, scene analysis, research, improv, and production. They also study literature while working daily to improve their reading and writing skills in an active and engaged learning environment.

“It really helps them to develop their creativity,” said Ms. Emunds. “When students work in theater class, they learn how to express themselves, they gain more confidence, and they also learn how to work together collaboratively as a team.  I really love to see the kids gain confidence in their abilities. They may not all end up being great actors, but they perform, and they perform well.”

Indeed. Ms. Emunds’ comedy improv students were recently crowned one of the best in the Chicagoland area. The group of ten competed in “ComedySportz” with five other local high schools. They came out on top in the tournament where they competed against Loyola Academy for the championship. Students says Ms. Emunds, comedy, performance, and the arts have given them focus, school pride, and a sense of accomplishment.

“Participating in the arts here at PMSA helps me to stay focused,” said PMSA sophomore and improv club member Emma Plesinicar. “It also helps me to have a lot of pride in our school. When we won first place in the improv competition, it just helped me confirm that we are awesome.  I really do love the arts at this school.”

Students love the arts almost as much as Ms. Emunds loves to see them perform. She admits that her proudest moments are when she takes off her hat as teacher and becomes a member of the audience, captivated by the transformation of her students on stage and behind the scenes.

“It makes me want to cry,” she said. “It is such a beautiful thing. I am so proud of them. This is what makes teaching worthwhile. Just to see that as I am sitting in the audience, they can do this.”

Thank you Ms. Ms. Ms. Scherer-Emunds! Congratulations and keep up the excellent work!

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