Special needs students team up with their peers for “Annie Jr.”

Southwest ISD has adopted the Penguin Project, which encourages special needs students to thrive on stage

The students have been rehearsing since September for this weekend's show

San Antonio – Students at Southwest ISD have been working since September to put on the production of “Annie Jr.” at Southwest High School this weekend.

It’s all part of the Penguin Project. The program provides an opportunity for children with special needs to participate in a unique theatrical experience and an outlet for revealing their creativity and talents.

“Students that started the year that really had difficulty just getting on stage, seeing them actually be on stage and really shine has been amazing to see that happen,” Executive Director of Special Ed. at SWISD Albrey Hogan said.

Executive director of fine arts, Richard Flores, tells us this is only one of two districts in Texas that are utilizing the Penguin Project.

“I wanted to involve them (her two elementary students) in this because I thought it was important for them to learn how to work with each other and with others who have similar disabilities,” parent Vanessa Ortega said.

Many of the staff involved have seen confidence that “has definitely grown a lot.”

For elementary fine arts coordinator, Carl Dickerson, this production has been a different experience than his previous school productions.

“Our district is known for giving our students as many opportunities as possible and this one that will be unforgettable for our students,” Dickerson said.

The shows are Friday, January 27, and Saturday, January 28 at the Southwest High School auditorium. Tickets are $5. Click here for more information.

About the Author:

Jennifer Tobias-Struski loves her hometown of San Antonio, and is proud to celebrate it every day working on SA Live. The Emmy-Award winning producer hosts the Mom-Day series, featuring fun, family-themed segments from crafting to fashion hacks every Monday.