Playtime Poppy Children’s Theatre has been chosen as the beneficiary of the Suzi Sargeant McDonald Endowed Fund, established at the Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation. McDonald, a 1963 Jefferson High School graduate, served as drama director at both Washington and Kennedy High Schools during her career and also directed Playtime Poppy productions.
“Suzi loved children’s theatre and believed in the power of theatre to instill confidence and teach empathy,” said Playtime Poppy’s Kristen Richardson Wilcox. “Her husband Richard wished to provide ongoing support to Playtime Poppy productions in her memory by establishing the endowed fund with the Foundation.”
The funds will be awarded annually to support a Children’s Theatre production, rotating between Jefferson, Kennedy, and Washington high schools. Stellaluna, presented this spring at Washington High School, was the first production chosen.
Richard McDonald, a retired children’s librarian, also supported Playtime Poppy to use a portion of the endowed funds to purchase a copy of Janell Cannon’s book, Stellaluna, for each area District elementary school. An accompanying insert encouraged schools to read Stellaluna with students and invited them to attend the production. Schools were asked to add the book to their library collection or to share it with a student.
Playtime Poppy has a long-standing history of offering participatory and educational theatre in partnership with the District. “We bring stories to life on stage, enlivening imaginations and enhancing literacy, Wilcox explained. “The children’s theatre organization also provides an opportunity for high school students to learn how to tell stories to children through theatre.”
"We are honored to be a part of making Suzi's passion for children's theatre come alive though the legacy that is Playtime Poppy,” added Karen Swanson, Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation.
More information about Playtime Poppy productions and educational programming can be found at www.playtimepoppy.org . Information about supporting the Cedar Rapids Community Schools through charitable giving is available at www.crcsf.com.