Have you seen the Sweet or Sour Show?
MHLT students have, and they look forward to it every other Friday morning at 8:05 a.m.
Now on its second season, the show’s producers Sam Gildseth (also known as Chickley Stick) and Kerrie Gonzalez (who also goes by Peppermint Patti), both MHLT teachers, are pleasantly surprised with its popularity among the students and other staff members.
“It’s really taken on a life of its own. It started as a children’s talk show where we had fairy tale characters come in and talk about life’s lessons. Then we branched off from there to do public service announcements,” Peppermint Patti said. “We had no idea that this would take off like it has.”
Some of the guests that have been on the Sweet or Sour Show include Humpty Dumpty, who discussed safety; CinderEllie, who spoke about bullying and how her step-sisters bullied her; Pinocchio, who shared some thoughts on telling the truth; and the Cowardly Lion, who talked about courage.
“We thought that kids aren’t as familiar with traditional fairy tale characters as they used to be,” Peppermint Patti said. “In the beginning of the season, we went on a road trip and met different characters. We got lost on the way home and ended up with Alice in Wonderland and encountering the Queen of Hearts. Now kids will come in and ask what story the Queen of Hearts is in.”
Both Chickley Stick and Peppermint Patti agree that the Sweet or Sour Show has brought the entire school together.
“The really neat thing is our guests are all basically staff. We’ve pulled in a couple of people who don’t work here, but mostly our guests are staff who dress up like fairy tale characters,” Chickley Stick said. “We have adult humor and we have kid humor.”
The show’s beginnings
Chickley Stick and Peppermint Patti came up with the idea for the Sweet or Sour Show last year, and it’s quickly become a favorite among students of all ages.
“Kerrie and I, we think we’re very funny – well, we know we are,” Chickley Stick said. “And so it started out with, ‘What can we do to entertain ourselves and maybe, along the way, other people?’ So we started talking about having a show. One thing led to another, and we started creating our props and our set.”
With one season under their belts and the second one in progress, Chickley Stick and Peppermint Patti have become icons of MHLT.
“We get fan mail all the time,” Peppermint Patti said, going to on to read one letter they received from a student. “‘Dear Peppermint Patti, I love your show. I also like sweet things and sour things. What’s your favorite candy? Also what is your favorite color?’ So they’ll write us and we’ll write back or show their letter on the show. Occasionally we’ll dress up in character and they’ll just go crazy.”
Peppermint Patti has a wardrobe that can only be described as “flashy” and “sparkley,” topped with a hot pink wig, and Chickley Stick sports a “cheesy vest” decorated with cupcakes.
“We’ll show up in the lunchroom [dressed in our costumes] and say, ‘We’re looking for kids who are behaving. We’re giving out prizes,’” Peppermint Patti said. “For the WKC testing, they had an assembly to pump the kids up, and they asked us to go in character to ramp up the kids.”
Producing Sweet or Sour
Chickley Stick and Peppermint Patti write, film and edit Sweet or Sour on their own time.
“Sam is the guru of editing and the technical end of things. There’s four cameras for close-ups and this and that, and she does all the editing,” Peppermint Patti said.
“We try to keep the show at seven minutes. Last year we went crazy and we did it every week, but it was really hard to keep up with the filming and editing,” Chickley Stick said.
All of the hand-made foam props – an oversized Pez dispenser that provides the topic of the day, a Lifesaver-shaped mailbox, a bottle-top table, and more – are also created during the MHLT teachers’ free time.
“I’ve become a foam creator and this is a nice outlet. You should see our basement,” Chickley Stick said.
But for as much time and work Chickley Stick and Peppermint Patti dedicate to the Sweet or Sour Show, they know the show is making a positive impact on children.
“We like the idea because it’s an example to the kids of what you can do to be creative,” Peppermint Patti said.
“And that it’s OK to be silly on kind of a serious topic,” Chickley Stick said. “We never imagined that we would be doing more than one season, and we’re on season two. We just didn’t envision it.”
To view the Sweet or Sour Show, search for “Sweet or Sour” at www.youtube.com.
Sarah Hirsch may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.