GHS Celebrates 102 Year Old Graham Witherspoon in Readers Theater


Jim Woytek

Jackson Dalleck, Editor

On May 8th, 2023 Gunnison High School hosted a reader’s theater, presented by the Up Valley Down Valley Players.  The play was an old-time radio show celebrating VE Day, which was the victory in Europe at the end of WWII. VE Day celebrations  started May 8th, 1945 and erupted around the world to mark the end of World War II in Europe. 

The war had been raging for almost five years when U.S. and Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.This was the turning point that ultimately led to the end of the war in Europe. Millions of people would storm the streets when they heard the news of Germany’s downfall. They would dance and sing in the streets, and commonly have street parties. Although the celebration is usually celebrated mainly in Europe, everyone can get excited for the downfall of Adlof Hitler. May 8th is a day to remember all of the sacrifices that were made, and the people who fought and died in the war. A day to celebrate the peace at the end of the war. 

To start the play students watched a small show on Graham Witherspoon, a 102 year old WWII veteran and  the oldest living WWII veteran in our own community.  Students were introduced to the characters; some of the people that played the roles include Jim Woytek, Mr. High, Duane Vandenbusche, and many more Gunnison locals. Duane Vandenbusche was the main narrator for the play. Students also got involved, presenting the flag representing victory over Europe, Some people played multiple roles, the people reenacted involved Hitler, Commanders, and many other people involved in the war. The play itself was very successful at getting the point across, and the auditorium was filled. The play was hosted in the auditorium at Gunnison High School.  The players presented a second show that evening for families and all members of the community.