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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Youngsters drafted to portray roles of Mockingbird children

Nick Kougias, drama teacher for Northwest ISD, plays Atticus Finch in the NW Campus production of To Kill a Mockingbird.	Kougias drafted students to play the children, from left, Sarah Moss, who plays Scout; Hunter Vivirito, who plays Jem; and Nicolas Holt, who plays Dill. The play runs tomorrow through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Theatre Northwest with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Nick Kougias, drama teacher for Northwest ISD, plays Atticus Finch in the NW Campus production of To Kill a Mockingbird. Kougias drafted students to play the children, from left, Sarah Moss, who plays Scout; Hunter Vivirito, who plays Jem; and Nicolas Holt, who plays Dill. The play runs tomorrow through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Theatre Northwest with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

By Sarah McVean/nw news editor

Nick Kougias, drama teacher for Northwest ISD, plays Atticus Finch in the NW Campus production of To Kill a Mockingbird.Kougias drafted students to play the children, from left, Sarah Moss, who plays Scout; Hunter Vivirito, who plays Jem; and Nicolas Holt, who plays Dill. The play runs tomorrow through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Theatre Northwest with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Nick Kougias, drama teacher for Northwest ISD, plays Atticus Finch in the NW Campus production of To Kill a Mockingbird. Kougias drafted students to play the children, from left, Sarah Moss, who plays Scout; Hunter Vivirito, who plays Jem; and Nicolas Holt, who plays Dill. The play runs tomorrow through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Theatre Northwest with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

To Kill A Mockingbird, voted by Librarians for America as the number one novel of all time, has now been adapted into a play opening this week in Theatre Northwest with the assistance of Northwest Independent School District’s student actors.

Nick Kougias, Northwest ISD drama teacher, teaches theatre one, advance acting and film and cinema to Chisholm Trail Middle School students. He has auditioned his students to perform some key roles in the upcoming production on NW Campus.

Kougias was involved in the very same school’s theatre program 13 years ago. He was a professional actor before becoming a teacher.

“ Teaching is my true passion,” he said.

Three of his students, Sarah Moss, 13; Hunter Vivirito, 12, and Nicolas Holt, 12, who attends Medlin Middle School, star in the production.

Kougias said other students from his school will get to shadow the technicians.

“ They will learn how to hang lights, paint and use machinery to build sets, so they will get an ‘all around’ learning experience,” he said. “It’s going to be a huge deal for my district as well as NW Campus to be able to highlight education that way.”

Brent Alford, NW drama director, said he had wanted the actors.

“ But it was entirely Nick’s idea to bring in kids to learn the technical side as well,” he said.
This when Alford and Kougias had dinner, the idea came up.

“ We have been talking about this show for years, and Mr. Alford asked, ‘How do you feel about putting this show together and making it a true learning experience?’ Of course I jumped onboard,” Kougias said.

Kougias auditioned a group of middle school students, but there were only three roles available.

Eighth grader Sarah plays the role of Scout Finch. She has performed in two of Chisholm Trail Middle School’s one-act plays, Diary of Anne Frank and 1,000 Cranes. When she was younger, she also participated in several church productions.

“ I love acting; it’s my favorite thing to do,” she said. “This is my first major thing though, and I think I can get to the same level.”

When Hunter was in the sixth grade, he performed monologue from Hamlet for Kougias. Hunter auditioned for Jem Finch and got the part.

“ It was a great experience to work with the cast,” he said. “It was really fun working off their energy.”

Nicolas, a sixth grade student, was recommended to audition by the drama director at Northwest High School.

Nicolas’ character is Dill, Jem and Scout’s friend.

“ The whole cast and we [the kids] are now best friends; we are all just best friends,” he said.

Kougias said, “I have some dynamite actors, and they have risen to the challenge,” he said. “It is phenomenal what they are able to do. The caliber of acting that these kids have is at the same level or higher. It’s great.”

Kougias said he continues to do shows on NW Campus because of the quality of the acting.

“ The program here exceeds all college programs in this entire area.”

Alford said this production will broaden Theatre Northwest’s audience to people who normally wouldn’t attend, and the students from both schools are learning from one another.

“ It is a win/win situation,” he said.

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