Vern Riffe students to perform Christmas program


PORTSMOUTH– The Scioto County Developmental Disabilities invites the public to attend a free Christmas performance on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Vern Riffe School in Portsmouth.

“Each classroom picks their song and they will do a little presentation, acting it out and singing karaoke,” said Dana Jones, lead teacher at Vern Riffe School. “Each song is like a different act, and at the end we do a special choir, and then we do a nativity scene where some of the kids will come in as the kings and the angels. It’s just really thoughtful and sentimental, and it’s lit up really nice.”

The planning for this annual performance begins in October, and students begin practicing their songs and lines in November. Within a week and a half, Jones said they’ve got it all ready and they begin running rehearsals in the gymnasium. By mid-December, it’s curtain time.

“It gives the kids a feeling of individuality that they can perform. Some of them can sing, some can act, and some of them are just dressed up nicely. Each room can individualize their acts to meet their kids’ needs,” Jones said.

This is the first time since COVID that the school has been able to host a live in-person performance. Last year it was pre-recorded in students’ classrooms to keep them socially distanced.

“It’s nice getting back with all us together in the same room. The kids are more excited than ever. They are excited to see their friends, and they are all well-behaved. You can tell they really missed it,” Jones said.

The program kicks off a weeklong series of Christmas events for students before their break starts on Dec. 19. For more information about the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, visit online at and like and follow them on Facebook.

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