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Freshmen star in Whitener’s final night
May 17, 2018

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It was the end of an era Wednesday night at the North Fort Myers High School auditorium, although it didn't really look or feel like one.

It was the final night Michele Whitener would direct drama students at North Fort Myers High School, so there was a sense something special was going to happen.

What it was, was what the school has done every year - several one-act performances put on by the freshmen at the end of the year under Whitener's direction to give them experience on the big stage before going on to bigger and better things in the future.

There was little fanfare and no huge celebration afterward, which is exactly the way she wanted it. This night was about trying out the new kids, not her.

The two main plays were "This is a Test," about a student who has to take a test and, although he has studied, he doesn't feel prepared. When he arrives in class, just about anything that could go wrong does. Much hilarity ensues.

The other big production was "Competition Piece," about the process of putting together a one-act play. In between were short plays, musical numbers and even pantomime.

There was a bittersweet feeling about the evening, for while it was great for these students to get their first taste of acting for an audience, it would be the last time they would do it for Whitener.

Cadence Dobson, who played Miss Hockenschmoss in "Competition Piece," said she took Acting I in the beginning of the year and they worked on it throughout the year.

"It was a real fun experience. It's amazing we get to be a part of this. She just did Mary Poppins, but I think it's nice to be part of her last show and celebrate her," said Dobson, who likes to sing and wants to be in musicals the rest of her high school career.

Jillian Masiero, who was in "This is a Test," said it was their best performance of the year and that things went smoothly in her first time out.

"We worked on this for months. We are visualizing the main character's thoughts," Masiero said, who looks forward to continuing on next year. "I'm a little sad. It was my first year with her and my brother had her for four years and loved her. I'm sad she's leaving."

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