Success for the arts and sports at Winton Woods post-levy

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Last fall, the arts and sports programs at Winton Woods High School looked like they were headed for a certain doom. A levy that would help keep them alive, had failed four times.

The district has made two major accomplishments the school since the levy passed. Winton Woods Championship Football team gets a second chance to do battle. And in a few days, another victory from that "YES" vote last Fall: The school's first big musical production since the levy passed.

It took a lot more than a pair of magic ruby slippers to keep the arts and sports programs grooving right along at Winton Woods.

"This show would not have taken place," said Choral Director David Bell. "Our sports teams would have probably not continued for the spring, and definitely would not have continued for the fall."

Their State Championship Football Team would never have had the chance to come back to the arena again. And this production of The Wizard Of Oz has 125 kids involved from the set crew, orchestra, sound guys, costumes, make-up, and of course, the cast.

"It's almost 20,000 hours if you include every child's commitment to the show," Bell said.

"Who else would wear ruby slippers with those socks?" exclaimed the bad witch with an ounce of sarcasm. The student actors made this treasure their own.

"Yeah, this vinyl doesn't breathe well at all, it does not breathe well at all," said Senior Seth Cornelius.

And there is plenty of sweat equity built into this show. They've been rehearsing since January.

"I'm sweating all over, hands all the way down, just sweating sweat, sweat, sweat, sweat," said Junior Keynan Johnson.

But they students are not sweating opening night.

"Me personally and a lot of my other friends," said Johnson. "We were gonna leave the school if the levy didn't pass, so it's great to see that the levy did pass cuz' we get to do stuff like this."

And get to be "king of the forest," at least for a few nights anyway.

"We're not just playing with opportunities," Bell said. "We're playing with lives, when we cut out opportunities like that."

It was the 5th time the levy had come up for a vote.

Remember that part of the movie-version, where Dorothy leaves her black and white world behind and steps into the very colorful land of Oz? Well, the turnaround here in the last six months at Winton Woods has been equally dramatic.

"We've gone from essentially the ashes of what could have been a total mess," Bell said. "To a State Championship to an outstanding performance like this, what a great thing for the community, great thing for the school."

"Yeah, I'm a little rusty yet," Cornelius said. "You know, the Tin Man's always a little rusty."

They certainly do not sound rusty. The musicians and singing all sound first rate. The show goes-on this Friday and Saturday night at the school's auditorium.

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