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Stage hand holding a giant paper fish on a stickWhat did your sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grade student do today? Chances are they didnt help build, produce and direct a full-scale production of a favorite childrens book.

For 27 Allen Elementary School students, they turned the classic childrens book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister into a production for Floyd County head start students.

The students performed three shows on Thursday, October 15 at the Gearheart Auditorium on the Prestonsburg campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

This has just been a tremendous partnership, said Mike Bell, a music teacher at Allen Elementary School. We appreciate [the college] for their support of our students and fine arts in general.

Students spent two months developing the script, props and other items for the production. What is unique about the play is that it is 100 percent driven by students. Everything, from lighting, sound, props and stage personnel are made up of students.

Clayton Case, director of fine arts at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, provided training to the lighting and sound crews.

Its phenomenal to see what these students can do, said Case. Ive learned a lot from their desire to want to learn and put on a great production.

Kimber Harless, 12, a seventh grader, played the leading role of the Rainbow Fish.

Its fun to be a part of a team and see something come together, she said. Its always fun to see the children [and adults] enjoying themselves.

Bretton Jones, 12, a seventh grader, operated the lights.

Clayton [Case] taught me so much, he said. To be able to do something like this is just awesome.

Jonah Bell, 13, an eighth grader, played Red Fish. He said having the opportunity do something like this is something he does not take for granted.

There are kids in high school that dont get to do things like this, he said. We are lucky to be at a school that encourages this.

Approximately 67 kids went through an application and interview process for 27 spots. Allen Elementary has 100 students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

This marks the third year of the partnership with the college. Case said people like Mike Bell are keeping the art and music thriving in schools.

Im as confident as ever that our region will continue to produce great talent as long as we have people like [Mike] teaching and challenging our children, he said.