Laughlin Junior/Senior High School students raising money for learning trip to Disneyland

April 5, 2019

LAUGHLIN — Laughlin

Junior/Senior High School band and theater arts teacher Beth Duerden is taking 46 high school students to Disneyland on May 2.

It’s not just for fun. There will be learning involved.

Overall, it’s a professional development trip for students to learn and gain experience from actual Disney employees.

They, of course, get to spend a day in the park, too.

The band is doing a workshop called Soundtrack Instrumental. Throughout the program, they learn a piece of Disney music, and at the end play it along with the movie.

“They do a great job inspiring the kids,” Duerden said. “Sometimes when they hear something from someone other than me it resonates a bit more.”

Laughlin’s band students went to Disneyland last year to compete. However, Duerden wanted to keep competition out of it this time.

“Competing is stressful,” she said. “So, I took it out of the equation, and made it more of a learning experience.”

Theater is now officially offered as a class at Laughlin High School. This marks the first year theater students are going to Disneyland.

They are taking Acting 101. The workshop focuses on learning foundation information, how to audition and spending time doing improv.

Fundraising, however, still is needed to make the trip possible.

Band and theater combined started saving for the trip in the fall of 2018. Together they have raised roughly half of what they need for the $22,000 total trip cost.

Duerden is planning on having another bake sale soon, which has proved to be successful in the past. There also was talk of a carwash.

“I make them work hard, but it’s something I want them to look forward to Disney every year,” Duerden said. “It is a lot of fun watching them smile once they get there.”

Other notes:

Duerden has completed 40 years of teaching and is in her second year at Laughlin. At almost every school where she taught, she raised band and theatrical arts programs from the ground up.

New to the Laughlin band this year are marching band and jazz band. On May 7, in the high school gym, will be the 4-12 grade jazz band debut.

On April 24, the theater students are putting on a spaghetti dinner show called “Cafe Murder,” and on May 15 a drama called “Dark Road.”