April 5, 2018

Fourth Grade, “Welding America”

For twelve weeks during the 2017-2018 school year, Oakwood fourth graders studied for, wrote, revised, and perfected their play Welding America, finally performing it for families and friends on Friday, March 16. Students chose parts based on points of view they wished to portray and met in scene groups to create the dialogue for that part of the script. And with an ear towards historical accuracy, all music performed was authentic to the time period being portrayed.

Our play starts with the United States joining World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When sixteen million men enlisted in the war, that left many jobs vacant across America. As a result, women entered the workforce in greater numbers, taking on what was at the time considered “men’s work.” While working alongside male workers, women realized that they were being paid lower wages for doing the same work as men, beginning the fight for equal pay. This was also all happening under Segregation and Japanese Internment, so this play also addresses the intersectionality of human-rights struggles.

According to fourth grade teacher Nicola Berlinsky, “The entire theatrical experience is a collaborate process, joining students, teacher, and parent volunteers together to help bring a message of civic engagement and the pursuit of equality and justice to the greater community.”