STS! Celebrates 15 Years at Sam Hughes Elementary

On a sunny, 90+ degree day in October of this year, the Stories that Soar! team brought their A-game to the stage at Sam Hughes Elementary. The performance marked the 15 year anniversary of our relationship with Sam Hughes Elementary. That’s fifteen years of incredible student stories coming to life on stage.

After the show, teachers and longtime supporters told us that the show felt different- in a good way. There were new kinds of stories and fresh stylistic approaches—even the pacing wasn’t typical. This feedback speaks to one of the original STS! core values of artistry, in that we will always strive to be better, to take chances, and to stretch ourselves creatively. It tells us that after 15 years we continue to innovate; never resting or just relying on what has worked in the past. Here’s to another 15 years and beyond!


Throwback photo from the first STS! show at Sam Hughes Elementary in 2002.

But there are other components to this equation: the incredible motivation from the kids to do their very best for the Magic Box and the deep commitment from the teachers and staff to support them. Writing for the Magic Box is a big part of the Sam Hughes Elementary culture, which comes with friendly academic competition, teamwork, and plenty of Husky Pride.

The kids told us they grow up dreaming of seeing their stories on stage; of sharing their words and ideas with their community. The children trust us to do just that. And with so many families and friends in the courtyard at our Sam Hughes Elementary shows, a community of story sharing is not just a dream, it is a reality. 


Now come, gather around family and friends, it is story time….

Stories that Soar Sam Hughes Elementary Show

Stories that Soar Sam Hughes Elementary Show

“We write it and you guys make it awesomer. It’s like teamwork!” ~4th grader






“If you give kids a choice, you get better results.” ~5th grade teacher







After the October performance, Creative Director Sharon O’Brien received this email from the mother of the kindergarten author of Happy Face Goes to School:

My daughter was so proud of herself! When I picked her up from school today she said, “Guess what?! My story got picked!” Thanks for all your hard work!




 “It’s just FUN writing and thinking of stories!!!” ~1st grader







The Hulk Smash writing team told us they worked their ‘very hardest ever’ to get their story in the show. Their response to seeing it on stage:

“We felt great, proud, and excited. I like how funny you guys did it!”





“I put my emotions in my book and I like that they acted them out.” ~5th grader







“When I write for the Magic Box I feel involved in something bigger, something everyone can be part of.” ~4th grader






The author of ‘Uncita and the Diamond’ also wrote a story in Bengali. She was one of five ESL authors selected for the show. In her feedback she told us…

“Writing for the Magic Box is fun because I get to write in English.”





As Hot, Hot Desert ended, a pre-K student in the front turned to Sharon O’Brien and asked…

“That’s just pretend, right?”






“I don’t like writing, except for the Magic Box because my stories come to life!” ~4th grader









“There are no boundaries with the Magic Box. You are free to write what you believe in!” ~5th grader





The Curiosity Box was also a hit at Sam Hughes Elementary. The following are just a few of the incredible questions the students had to ask:

How long does it take to read all the stories? Do you like turtles? Why can’t we see air? Can you come here everyday?




“I liked the Alien and Robot story because of all the stuff you used to make the story come alive.” ~2nd grader






The Magic Box loves stories written in any language, like this lovely gem of The Brave Fairy written in Chinese.





stssh19“One of my favorite parts is the theme song. It’s not annoying and it sticks in your head.” ~5th grader





This performance included a very special song written by a Sam Hughes Elementary student:

“My Beautiful earth

Is so green and blue

This planet is for

me and you

My Beautiful Earth

Is Pretty it shines

This planet is gorgeous

And devine

My Beautiful Earth

Is not very peaceful

But when you walk on the streets

You must be careful

My Beautiful Earth

Is the best

But when the sun goes down

We need a rest

My Beautiful Earth

Love us all

If we treat it well

We won’t build a wall.”


Thank you, Sam Hughes Elementary. Keep writing and keep using your imaginations!

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