Excerpt from the book The Olive Tree: 12.25.2047, from the Acknowledgements page:
DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF THE E-BOOK HERE!"The atmosphere of intolerance against Muslims during the 2016 presidential campaign reminded me of an old CBS Sunday Morning package by Bob Simon titled The Lemon Tree. It was the story of a children’s school in Israel that had once been the home of an Arab and a Jewish family, both sharing the burden and sadness of fifty years of war, as well as the fond memories of an old lemon tree that used to grow in the home’s backyard. I felt compelled to combat that atmosphere of religious intolerance with a dose of humanity through this work of fiction which was inspired by that school and its beloved lemon tree. Two years later, eleven people lost their lives in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history, and I pondered the daunting question of whether to wait to hear back from my traditional submissions to agents and managers, etc., or to just self-publish in order to get the story out into the world. Although I was already in the middle of another project by that point, a short interview with Andy Weir (regarding his book The Martian) inspired me to release the e-book a few weeks before Christmas, at the lowest allowable price. May it serve the purpose for which it was written."But back in 2016, my first accomplices to that original plan were actually children. Specifically my 2016-2017 theater class at Hammocks Middle School. I am extremely grateful for their courage in attempting the first version of this story (although somewhat disastrously, but nonetheless fun) as part of our December 2016 school production. I am especially grateful to Taha, who played the part of the Arab patriarch, for showing me his love of Islam. I was able to give life to the Eshan family in the subsequent versions by seeing them through his eyes, and thus why the character of their son is named after him. I also want to thank Marvin and Ethan who literally saved the winter show at the last minute, and though not everything came out as planned, it was the first seed that eventually grew into this book. In truth, the entire cast and crew of that winter show (as well as the summer play) were absolutely amazing! I don’t want to risk forgetting someone, so I won’t name names, instead, I posted the entire cast list of the winter show here: smithsonian.ishf.info/ws. If any of you are reading this (and I hope you are), I want you to know that being your teacher for those eight months was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I will carry it in my heart forever."
MISS G’S CLASS FOR PECULIARLY TALENTED CHILDREN:
“CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR!” - PROGRAM COPY
(Period 3 Project - Drama II & III)
The main story was loosely based on the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
CAST & CREW
Directed by Alissa Leon.
Produced by Andres Carbonell & Steve Delvillar.
Written together as a group, including (but not limited to): Andres Carbonell, Alissa Leon, Kimberly Medina, Joselyn Ugalde, Denise Santiago, Rebecca Vidal and Ms. G.
Stage design by: Craig Allen, Shardul Ferrer and Benjamin Glindeman.
Props by Ariel Castro, Jonathan Fernandez, Paola Cruz and Angel Alphonse
Curtains by: Rispek Grant
Lights: Andrea Fernandez, head Light Technician, (borrowed from Period 1 - Drama I), Jonathan Batista, Sina Heydarian, Sabrina Sanchez, Brian Tato
Sound: Kimberly Medina, Dania Decarvalho (volunteer) and Ms. G
Hair and Make-up: Denise Santiago and Sofia Ramirez-Hernan
Production Crew (stage and prop building, audience seating and moving props on stage): Angel Alphonse, Paola Cruz, Riley Fuentes, Anthony Jimenez, Carlo Mejia, Luke Miller.
KYLE/PRODUCER: Andres Carbonell
EMMA/DIRECTOR: Alissa Leon
MIMES: Shardull Ferrer & Nelly Pinto
JACK: Luismario Abea
MS. G: Denise Santiago
STUDENTS: Marcelo Hernandez, Virgil Harmon, Carlo Mejia, plus additional characters from the other stories.
LAILA: Mia Vuong (borrowed from Period 1 - Drama I)
PIANISTS: Luca Grignola and Adrian Tamayo (from Period 1)
(Period 2 Project - Drama I)
Loosely based on the movie “Freaky Friday.”
CAST & CREW
Directed by Gabrielle Dicanio.
Produced by Angello Alcebo and Ian Garcia-Reyes.
Written by Valeria Espinosa, Dayana Henao and Ms. G.
Props by Amairani Rubio, Carlos Castaño, Daniela Ibanez
Lights: Jonar Arnosa and Andrea Fernandez (from Period 1)
Sound: Sofia Castro, Dania Decarvalho (volunteer) and Ms. G
Production Crew: Melanie Barcelo, Aleysha Cabral, Ashley Carbonell, Jasmine Casal, Isabella Illa, Sarahy Rosario, Ana Valiente.
MIA CHAVELLI: Heisbeth Reyes
MS. DAWN: Aaliyah Hernandez
FOSTER MOM: Melissa Carpenter
FOSTER DAD: Giovanny Huaman
FOSTER KIDS: Marcos Malkum and Valeria Espinosa
PIZZA DELIVERY GIRL: Mariaeugen Alcala
THE OLIVE TREE
(Period 1 Project - Drama I)
Based on Ms. G’s short story*, “The Olive Tree.”
(*It was not a finished short story, but rather, a series of character exercises with some key dialogues, held together by research notes. I then enlisted the help of Vicky Vu, who was an incredibly talented young writer in her own right, as my script assistant. Some of the original character names differed from the book version.)
CAST & CREW
Directed by Adrian Tamayo.
Produced by Antonio Dejesus and Diego Gonzalez.
Written by Vikky Vu and Ms. G.*
Props by Harley Navarro, Nicole Zapatel, Angela Barrias
Lights: Andrea Fernandez, Andrea Paz and Laura Martinez
Sound: Daniela Castillo, Dania Decarvalho (volunteer) and Ms. G
Production Crew: Giancarlo Abbate, Emily Cosme, Kaylee Diaz, Amee Fernandez, Jessica Gonzalez, Annelise Iglesias, Daylin Lopez, Sofia Murillo, Laurence Ochoa, Christopher Perez-Gomez, Clemence Sawadogo, Mia Vuong, Samantha Zheng.
ISAAC: Luca Grignola
AABIRAH: Amanda Diaz
MOHAMMED: Taha Iftikhar (Marvin Gomez-Maradona, understudy)
ABRAHAM: Ethan Vega
MAIA: Cierra Jean
SAMMI: Andrea Olavarrieta
BULLY: Marvin Gomez-Maradona (Adrian Tamayo, understudy)
COPS: Arianna Aragon and Mia Martinez
BLACK LIGHT THEATER
(Period 5 Project - Drama I)
Choreographed by Alberto Peña created by Ms. G. for beginning Drama I students.
(This part of the story is supposed to represent the "dancing lights" that both Isaac and Aabi see as they sit together on one of the branches of the olive tree.)
CAST & CREW
Props by Maite Villa, Karen Barredo, Carelie Martinez, Nicholas Rodriguez
Dancers: Juliana Cruz, Claudia Espinosa, Jailyn Marquez, Adrian Sanchez, Cindy Velazquez, Joshua Williams
Black Light Crew: Paola Acuna, Larry Borrayo, Chris Parrish, Kaylie Prol, Marco Sanchez, Jazmin Vergel,
Production Crew: Eduardo Drowne, Amelia Gonzalez, Sarah Jattin, Jocelyn Martinez, Melanie Nuñez, Lindsey Rugel, Darshanys Sanchez, Olivia Sanguily, Jothuel Tellez, Elizabeth Ventura and Andrew Rivera.
ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEER STUDENTS:
Michael Bulnes, Justin Calonge, Dania Decarvalho, Natalia Castillo, Jessica Ferrer, Zachary Matute, Gianna Mullé, Marco Vargas, Rodrigo Vargas, Dylan Vega.