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Students Display Storytelling, Acting Talents

Students and staff from the Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland’s ACT Summer Enrichment program pose for a photo after getting great reviews for their play, Thief of The Knight.

The Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland’s (RCSJ) campus community came together recently to watch Adult Center for Transition (ACT) students display their thespian chops. On August 10, the ACT Summer Enrichment Program presented the play Thief of The Knight at the Luciano Center. The students created the play based on an icebreaker word association game.

“In the beginning [of this year’s summer program] we did an exercise,” said Xiara Maldonado, case manager, RCSJ ACT program. “They start with a word and each of the students make a story, word for word, and they go down the line.”

“They made a … story about a princess getting her diamond stolen,” she continued. “They had a choice to do a pre-made play or to make their own and they decided to use that exercise, that icebreaker, to make an artful play out of it and write it themselves instead.”

Thief of The Knight was filled with humor that tickled audience members’ funny bones. The play also included themes that hit home for some spectators.

“I thought it was really creative and I thought the script was really funny and charming,” said Rebecca Vezza, advisor, High School Option Program (HSOP), Center for College and Career Readiness. “And it had a really great message about workers’ rights.”

The theme about workers’ rights caught Alexandra Dionisi a bit off guard, but it reminded her of being a teenager starting out in the workforce.

“I didn’t expect that,” said Dionisi, outreach recruiter, Center for College and Career Readiness. “I was just expecting … a Monty Pythonesque, medieval fun play, but a lot of it resonated with me. I can’t wait to see what else the ACT program comes up with.”

Thief of The Knight attendees weren’t the only ones who enjoyed themselves. According to Maldonado, the cast was nervous yet “absolutely” excited. Some of the actors’ family members were also on hand to watch the performance.

“We had to strongly encourage some of them to participate in certain aspects because some of them prefer to self-isolate,” she said. “But that’s what this program is about to get them that socialization and to get them … out of their comfort zone. So, yeah, they ended up enjoying it a lot.”

The mission of the Rowan College of South Jersey Adult Center for Transition is to afford young adults with disabilities, vocational, and socialization skills necessary to become independent and contributing members of society.

For more information about Rowan College of South Jersey’s Adult Center for Transition program, please visit