Posted on October 30, 2011
If you visit the faculty blogs this week, there's most certainly a dominant theme: Spooktivity! Now in its 15th year, Spooktivity is an opportunity for our students (and their parents!) to celebrate imagination and community. With the creative energy of many parents who transform classrooms and the dining room into festive gathering areas, the stage is set for the long-anticipated day. Carved pumpkins line the outside of classrooms. Hand-painted Halloween facades made of sturdy cardboard become the backdrops for the distribution of goody bags. This past Friday morning, the preschoolers and their parents, many in costume as well, were cheered on by the older students as they walked slowly past classrooms. We gathered for the Hokey Pokey, then back to the classroom for holiday activity. The excitement mounted for the elementary students (we doubt many actually ate lunch that day)-- they were so energized!
I stood on the outdoor stage and sounded the hand drum, the signal for the annual Parade of Costumed Characters to begin. From an observer's perspective, it was hard to say who was having more fun, the children or the adults. The colorful stream of characters walked to the high school campus and ended at the middle school quad lawn
where we, too, danced the Hokey Pokey before returning to the elementary campus.
The children quickly found a space on the courtyard lawn to listen to the orchestra's expressive performance telling a musical story of children on Halloween night having nightmares from too much candy! The combination of stringed instruments and vocalizations painted vivid images in our heads. But the best was yet to come --
the talent show.
Earlier in the day and during the afternoon, over twenty children from kindergarten through fifth grade overcame their stage fright and performed a special talent for their peers and parents. I could not express the significance of this talent show better than Diane Koshi, music teacher. In her music blog, Diane writes:
BRAVI! BRAVISSIMO!!! to all our Spooktivity Talent Show performers who gave truly adorable, entertaining, and inspiring performances! Many thanks to the gracious audience who energetically cheered on and supported their friends. There were many moments of, "The honor of my school is mine."
The journey throughout the performance process was rich and colorful. From the excitement of signing up; the drama of deciding what and how to perform; practicing; coordinating music, props, and costumes; the anticipation of finding out whether they were in the show or not; learning to cope with nerves and stage fright; to the exhilaration of a cheering audience . . . Ah, the Performing Arts! Itʻs addictive . . .
On a personal note - The audition portion is always my favorite segment of the process because I get to see the children being totally creative. Unlike Simon (from American Idol), I was often 'verklemmt' (German for choked with emotion) as each child came before me and gave their best. It takes incredible courage, creativity, and fortitude to perform for their (usually critical) music teacher! It was an honor to have a private performance.
I'd only like to underscore two things that Diane writes about, and that is the amazing confidence of our students and the amazing respect and encouragement our students demonstrated for the performers. This is the spirit of the school that we want our students to experience.
Our deepest appreciation to all of you who donated pumpkins and items for the children's treat bags, who took some time off work to carve pumpkins, paint Treat Street sets, and decorate the campus. Lei of aloha especially to Michele Aspera and her team of parents who did an incredible job of coordinating all the details that go into a Spooktivity event.
There is one more item I want to call your attention to before you sign off this blog. I strongly encourage you to read Shirley Rivera's blog (click here: www.midpac.edu/elementary/counseling/2011/10/understanding_emotions.php on your child's emotional development. It will be worth your time to read it and reflect on it.
Due to popular demand, we are extending the CFL exchange one more week until Friday, November 4. You can do your part to save our planet if you can just take the time to gather all those incandescent bulbs (even new ones) and take them to the fifth grade, room 15, for CFLs. Go through your neighborhood! Ask grandparents and other family members.
Even though Halloween is Monday, the teachers will be helping your children to re-focus on all the wonderful learning in the classroom. If your children are trick-or-treating, please ensure a regular bedtime so that they're bright-eyed on Tuesday!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey