Catonsville, Sudbrook Magnet, and Windsor Mill middle students participate in live online discussion with Broadway stars


Selected students in Grades 6-8 from Catonsville, Sudbrook Magnet, and Windsor Mill middle schools joined middle school students from across the country in a live online discussion hosted by Alexandra Robbins, the award-winning author of The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth. The October 13 discussion on the subject of tolerance featured cast members of the Broadway production of The Addams Family:  Jackie Hoffman (Grandma), Zachary James (Lurch), Brad Oscar (Fester), and Adam Riegler (Pugsley). The Addams Family cast discussed their on-stage characters and answered questions from the students.

The Addams Family: No Snap Judgments initiative is designed to combat bullying in schools, as well as deliver innovative theatre arts lessons and class activities to schools across the country. More information about the initiative can be found by watching the video at, or by visiting where students can take a pledge, print out a certificate, and watch YouTube videos of other cast members sharing personal stories about snap judgments.


Catonsville Middle School teachers David Roy, Cindy Stevenson, and Kate McFadden and library/media specialists Tatanisha Love from Windsor Mill Middle School and Ali Schilpp from Sudbrook Magnet Middle School helped students prepare questions for the live discussion.

Catonsville Middle School student Sydney H. posed the following question to the cast members: “What did you do when your friends wanted you to laugh with them at the expense of another?”

The session culminated with the stars leading students in the No Snap Judgments Pledge: 
"I pledge to be a respectful and positive person. I recognize that each person is unique and in some ways different than I am but that what we all have in common is much more important. I will celebrate the differences among my friends, family, teachers, and peers and do my best to learn from them. I will be more accepting of each person I meet and make no snap judgments about them. From this day forth, I promise to uphold No Snap Judgments (snap, snap)." 

At Catonsville Middle School, Principal Michael Thorne, library/media specialist Alyssa Smith, and English department chair Cecily Anderson led students in a lively discussion following the Web conference and discussed how taking the anti-bullying pledge exemplified the Habits of Mind. 

Students commented that participating in the Web conference showed that they were tech-savvy, and that they needed to be persistent in maintaining their own identities despite peer pressures, celebrate creativity and the differences that make each person unique, and go beyond tolerance to build empathy for others. The discussion was videotaped by William Groth from the Department of Technology and will be made available through Safari Montage. 

Students will participate in follow-up Web conferences with the actors and actresses from The Addams Family when the musical comes to Maryland in the spring. 

Schools interested in participating in a Web conference should contact the Office of Library Information Services at 443-809-4035, or email or 

Story submitted by Sharon L. Grimes, supervisor, Office of Library Information Services. Photo courtesy the Office of Library Information Services.
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