Jacksonville schools receive donations from Lon Morris theatre

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 7:27pm

The theatre department was a huge part of Lon Morris's history.

Many succesful thespians have come through the program and gone on to big things.  Now many of the costumes and props from the department are going to others who could use them.

Shirley Grote has been teaching theatre at Jacksonville High School for the past 13 years...

Mrs. Grote was once a student of the Lon Morris College theatre department.

She even met her husband there.

She has fond memories of Mrs. Earle, the Lon Morris costumer.

"She taught us how to sew, cut a pattern out, how to pin it, how to do the tailoring.  She actually taught a life skill to lots and lots of college students," Grote said.

And when the news about Lon Morris's demise became apparent, Grote, like many others was heartbroken. And it hit home when she spent an afternoon in the old costume room recently.

"It makes me cry.  I cried when I was in there.  And my students were very consoling and comforting.  I think the entire town held out hope," Grote said.

The Lon Morris restructuring firm allowed both Jacksonville ISD and Jacksonville College to take some costumes, shoes, hats and props.

Sophomore Kasi McMillin is excited to get to wear some of the costumes in an upcoming show.

"I think that it's a very generous offer because Mrs. Grote has a lot of history there," McMillin said.

"Those items will live on in other theaters in other shows.  For years and years and years.  And these students will now have an opportunity they never would have had," Grote said.

The Lon Morris building auctions will happen from mid December to mid January.

Many, like Mrs. Grote are still hoping another institution will buy the campus and bring life back to it.


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