Bringing the School Along on ‘A Christmas Story’ Adventure

Katie DeVries (left) pouting as one of Santa's elves (cr. Grand Rapids Civic Theater)

Thanks to a relationship between Kent City Elementary and Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, 179 students and family members got to attend a production of the classic tale “A Christmas Story.” To sweeten the deal, Katie DeVries, a school social worker by day, got to show off her acting, singing and dancing skills while playing a number of roles, such as Ralphie’s friend Flick’s mom and one of Santa’s elves.

Students got a kick out of Ralphie’s adventures in hopes of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

“I liked all of it, it was really funny,” said fifth-grader Alexis Polus.

“There’s so many elements in theater kids can connect with,” DeVries said. “I hope it will inspire in them their creative abilities.”

The show ended Sunday after a five-week run of 26 mostly sold-out performances. DeVries said that between the play, her work at the school and the normal holiday buzz, “being busy” was an understatement.

Civic Theatre gives Kent City Elementary students exclusive entry on preview night for the holiday show every year, at a greatly reduced rate. The school’s PTCO covers the remaining cost for a number of the families who attend. DeVries explained many may not otherwise have the opportunity to make the trip to the theater in downtown Grand Rapids. School buses transported many of the families.

“It was fun getting a feel of students’ favorite parts,” said DeVries, whose favorite scene was when Flick gets his tongue stuck on a frosty pole.

Fifth-grader Madi Brake said she liked it when Ralphie had to try on the bunny suit, adding, “He got so embarrassed but everyone else thought he was so cute.”

Adrian Hirsch has been with SNN since its launch, starting as an intern from Grand Valley State University where he received a degree in broadcasting and business. After the internship, Adrian was brought on as staff to continue reporting, editing and publishing stories for SNN and Kent ISD. Adrian has been active with community radio station WYCE for years, served as Non-Profit Coordinator for GRTV, and currently works as the Web Producer for SNN.

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