GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCSC) - Students at the Berkeley Center for the Arts at Goose Creek High School have been working for months on a project they hope will inspire children and adults to love their neighbor no matter their differences.
The students are putting on a theater performance of Chris Singleton’s children’s book called “Different.” Singleton is an inspirational speaker, former baseball player and the son of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton who was killed in the Charleston church shooting in 2015.
He is also a graduate of Goose Creek High School where his mother worked as a teacher. Singleton’s book tells the story of a young boy who moves to Charleston from Nigeria and doesn’t look or talk like his classmates. The message is to not be ashamed of who you are and to love your neighbor.
Singleton worked closely with the students as they prepared for the performance. Berkeley Center for the Arts senior Jasmine Diaz played a major role writing the adaptation and is also the assistant director. She is looking forward to this weekend’s performance.
“I’m scared but I’m also excited that I finally get to share something that means so much to me and comes from such a personal place,” Diaz said. “And that I had the privilege to share Chris’ story in this format.”
Diaz said she has experienced some of what the main character experiences in the play which is why she is so passionate about the project.
“Obinna is an immigrant,” she said about the play’s main character. “And I’m the daughter of an immigrant. My dad immigrated here from the Dominican Republic. And it’s important to me because he worked so hard to get here so I can do something like this and tell a story like this that means so much to me.”
The director of theater at the Berkeley Center for the Arts Lauren Canfield said they chose Singleton’s book for a reason.
“We are looking to diversify the stories we tell on stage at Goose Creek High School. We realize there are inequities that need to be remedied and this is our first step in doing that,” Canfield said. “We encourage families and community members to step out of their comfort zone and learn from another perspective and that it’s never too early to talk to your children about these messages.”