Military Matters: Teens Use Theater To Deal With Deployments


While most teenagers are coping with the pressures of homework and finding a prom date, some have much bigger worries. They're military children.

"A lot of those teens that we work with internalize a lot of those pressures of having a parent deployed. Also, they have to take on a lot more responsibility sometimes at home," said Kristie Fuller, a theater teacher at Indian River High School

It's tough ad they often struggle in silence.

That is until now. 

About 20 Indian River High School students from military families are working with playwright-in-residence Craig Thornton on an original play to show the world what it's like when a parent deploys and how coming from a military family affects their daily lives.

Last fall, students interviewed other military children.

Since then, Thornton has been weaving the transcripts together into a single story.

The result - a docudrama called "In My Shoes."

It's a work in progress and the process has been surprising.

"There's a lot of frankness and honesty in the stories that I think maybe surprised me as far as what students are willing to talk about and how far they're willing to tell their stories," said Thornton.

"Taking a look at how that affects school work and their day to day existence has been really eye-opening for even myself...I've taught here for 13 years," said Fuller.

Students say they're glad to finally have their voices heard.

"I know what's going on when my dad leaves. I know when he's gone that he might not come back and it's been a good experience to have someone telling that story," said sophomore Aurora Adams, the daughter of a soldier.

The students will tell their story twice.

They'll perform the rough draft of the script for public feedback April 28.

The final performance will be June 10.

(Full disclosure; Craig Thornton is not only a fine playwright, he's also a 7 News employee.)

While you're here, check out our Military Matters Calendar of Upcoming Events.

If you have a story you think we should be covering, e-mail Katie Alexander at

She not only wants to hear about issues, she also wants to hear about people doing exceptional things, interesting hobbies, good deeds and taking part in community events.

Email Katie your photos and let her know about upcoming events.

Again, Katie's address is


Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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