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Selma High students get lesson about life

Positive change through education was the message Friday morning at Selma High School.

Actress Tonea Stewart, best known for her role as Etta Kibbee on the television series &uot;In the Heat of the Night,&uot; brought the students to their feet again and again with the aid of drama students from Alabama State University.

Selma High School students were presented with a series of short plays depicting the consequences of neglecting their studies, teachers and parents.

The presentation celebrated American Education Week and National Children’s Book Week.

Students and community members present laughed during two short plays, but underlying the laughter was a serious message.

One of the performances depicted a household torn in two by a husband who constantly drank and a wife who was pregnant with their second child. At the play’s end the audience discovered that the husband had lost $6,500 on an investment.

Stewart continued to drive the point home that education was paramount.

As the performance reached it’s climax, Stewart related a story about her great-grandfather. When she was a child, she said, she asked him why he was blind.

It turned out, she continued, that he had been a slave in his youth and his greatest desire was to learn how to read. When the overseer found him with a Bible, though, his eyes had been burned out.

The day she had been told that story, Stewart said, her great-grandfather made her promise that she would read every book she could and that she would tell his story to children everywhere.