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Kids take center stage at the Community School of the Arts in Fort Smith

At the Community School of the Arts, children learn about more than just the theater.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Education continues to change, and so does the way kids are being taught. 

The Community School of the Arts in Fort Smith is using classic stories to reach and teach children in the community.

The latest show put on by the kids is Charlotte's Web, the classic tale of a pig and spider forming a bond. 

"I was shaking, like when I did my first performance I had eaten donuts that morning so my stomach was churning, I felt like I was gonna throw up. I was like, 'just remember your lines and you'll be fine,'" said Ian Lodes, one of the actors in the play.

Lodes and the rest of the child actors are all part of the Community School of the Arts, a school that uses the theater to teach so much more than just acting.

"There's the reading aspect side of it, there's the team building side of it, they're gaining leadership skills and they're taking those things and applying them within their schools," Cody Walls said. "they are applying them when it comes to their studies and they're performing much higher than they would without the arts...on their standardized testing."

"There's a lot of function happening in the brain while they're on stage performing, in addition to the emotional maturity it takes to be an actor at such a young age," Dylan Blackwood said.

The kids learned the lines, the blocking, the props and delivered in a way that made their teachers proud.

It's a performance that will stick with them for life. 

"I was able to pull it off so I feel like in other plays, if I like, I feel really confident about it," Lodes said.

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