As a student at Strom Thurmond High School, Michele Waters participated in student plays and the show choir.

She had a dream, but it wasn’t so much about her own acting opportunities. Waters’ goal was to teach in elementary school and later do plays with the younger children.

Thanks to her interest, dozens of Millbrook Elementary School students presented the musical “Beauty and the Beast” for parents and friends Thursday night. It’s Waters’ third directorial effort. Three years ago, Millbrook students performed “Cinderella and then “Peter Pan” the following year.

The title roles this year went to Mikalya Armstrong as Belle and Caleb Eichelberger as the Beast. Reagan Fairchild portrayed “Papa.” Teachers Kathryn Warren and Denise Spacek served as the musical director and set designer, respectively.

When Waters’ husband – South Aiken High School teacher and coach Paul Waters – was teaching at Williston-Elko High School, she was teaching at Kelly Edwards Elementary School. She often got the chance to help out with plays at the high school and would find talent there. Waters has discovered similarly hidden talent at Millbrook.

“We have kids who are very gifted and may not know it,” she said. “We’re trying to give them an opportunity to explore that.”

It’s more than just getting on a stage, Waters said. The children learn about creativity, problem-solving, higher order thinking skills, teamwork and singing in public. Some students preferred to work backstage – changing the scenery and lights and opening the curtains.

Other cast members were Ella Rich, McKenna Richardson, Loyda Paz, Dani Brinkley, Caleb Waters, Emily Bradham, Andrew Markiewicz, Abbie Housely, McKinley Morgan, Ashlyn Brown, Chloe Eichelberger, Nick McMaster, Jacob Diagnault, Logan Chisholm, Makaylin Melvin, Alex Romen, Emily Spacek, Makenzie LaRochelle, Ashley Stone and Kelsey Waters.

The chorus members included Jacky Gomez, Kaitlin Teeter, Dominick Hodge, Erica Kirkland, Gabriel Robinson, Brianna Wright, Chelsea Cribb, Brandon Glenn, Delwin Hodge, Joseph Hartman, Donavan Hodge, Iyana Johnson, Ronigan Pelep, Makenzie Tibbs, Courtney Brown, Abby Davis, Zachary Rankin and Evie Fleishman.

The ceremony crew members were Josh Noel, Gavin Layfield, Jason Lewis, Brandon Goings, Jordan Myers, Julia Harper, Hagan Goings and Hannah Middleworth.