(September 13, 2018)— Hagerstown Community College students Makayla Smith, of Mercersburg, and Heather Wallen, of Hagerstown, recently volunteered their time to direct a play, adapted from James Matthew Barrie’s book, “Peter Pan,” on Thursday, Sept. 6, performed by the residents of The Potomac Center.
At the suggestion of a resident, staff at The Potomac Center reached out to the HCC Theater Department in March for assistance with executing the first-ever play presented by their residents. Mike Harsh, HCC drama professor, identified two theater students to volunteer their time to adapt a script and work with the staff and residents to build props and rehearse.
“These young women helped our residents find talent that they didn’t know they possessed and a hobby for their future,” said Melissa Marino, therapeutic recreation supervisor at the Potomac Center. “These ladies gave the residents something to look forward to every week and not only did these college students accept our residents, they believed in their potential and helped them achieve their goal.”
Smith, 20, is studying theater and education at HCC, and completed 40 hours of volunteering at The Potomac Center. She plans to transfer to Lock Haven University in the spring. Wallen, 27, is studying English and theater at HCC and completed 25 hours of volunteering at The Potomac Center. She plans to transfer to Towson University next fall.
“I was confident from the day we started that we could make this into something great and memorable,” said HCC student Makayla Smith. “I feel so blessed to be able to say that I worked with some of the best people and was given the opportunity to not only give back to the community but to learn about myself.”
Along with the performance, guests gathered at The Potomac Center to celebrate the facilities’ 40 years of dedication to helping people with intellectual disabilities. The state-run transitional facility is designed to help mental health patients return to the community. For more information about HCC’s theater program, visit www.hagerstowncc.edu/theater.
Photo Caption: HCC theater students with the cast and staff at The Potomac Center’s presentation of “Peter Pan.”