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Westfield 6th Grader Creates Free Acting Class for Kids with Special Needs

Jill D'Ambrosio

Saturday, May 3, 2014 • 8:56pm

WESTFIELD, NJ – Rachel Saxon, a sixth grader at Edison Intermediate School, is hoping to share her love of the theater when she helps teach a series of five free acting classes for special needs children beginning May 5.

Rachel's workshop, called Open Curtain Drama, will be held on Mondays from 4 p.m. unitl 4:45 p.m. in the Robinson Room at The Presbyterian Church, 140 Mountain Avenue in Westfield. No class will be held on Memorial Day. Parents interested in registering their children can visit www.opencurtaindrama.org or call 908-447-0919.

Donations toward the class can be made on the website.

Working with Beth Painter, director of the Contagious Drama Workshop, Rachel, 12, will help lead students in kindergarten through age eight in exercises that help children express themselves through song, movement and improvisation. She hopes to hold an observation class for parents at the end of the session.

Rachel has studied creative drama at the Paper Mill Playhouse and is currently taken a dance class at the Millburn theater. She performed in Edison’s production of “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” in the fall and worked as the assistant musical director of “The Little Mermaid” this spring.

Rachel spearheaded the drama class as part of preparation for becoming a bat mitzvah in October at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield.

“I noticed that there weren’t that many kids that had special needs in drama class or other classes, and I wanted to expose them to this thing I love,” Rachel said.

Her mother, Jill Saxon, is proud of her daughter’s unique mitzvah (good deed) project.

“I like that she found a way to take something that she’s really passionate about and channel it into her project,” she said.

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