Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hope of America

Pin It The scale was amazing. It was overwhelming. I was speechless. I was a part of it.

Would I do it again?


In fact, I did.

I had never been to, or taken part in the Hope of America Program in the past. Oh yes, I’d heard of it before; I’d had other educators tell me about how wonderful it was and how I should go, but did I?


So, just why was this? To be honest…it was mostly because I just didn’t really want to battle the crowds—I’d heard that from lots of people in the past…those who told me just how horrendous it was; a genuine and nightmarish melee of people in a sea of vehicles all trying to depart at the same time when the program reached its end.

No, definitely not for me.

Well, when an educator moves schools and grade levels—more specifically moving to the 5th grade—this would be a good time to start thinking about taking part in the Hope of America—after all, it was a program intended to be performed by 5th grade students.

After a little convincing, my team was on board and the preparations began.

I won’t encumber you with sundry details of practices, hours spent in training the students (and those times where I did not prepare as I didn’t know I’d be directly involved in the show), but will instead jump you straight to the exciting part…fast forward past months of meticulous training to Cinco de Mayo 2009.

That morning my students were riddled with anticipation as we loaded onto the bus and headed to the Marriott Center for our one and only practice as an entire group; I have to admit at this point that I too, was fairly thrilled. There’s just something about a performance like this which gives you those butterflies—the thrill of excitement—that, or it makes you want to throw up.

In some cases: both.

The practice went off without a hitch; it was fun to watch the performances in-between our numbers of varied schools and dance groups; many of which were not only talented, but downright amazing. Groups of children with choreographed routines from other countries, the “Golden Girls” dance troupe with members ranging from 50 to 92 ‘years young,’ and many others which left myself and my students spellbound.

Time-warp again to that night.

When the kids were finally all in place and the lights came up, something magical happened. Words cannot express or explain it fully; neither can photos…not really. This was something which you could only truly comprehend if you were there. Literally, it very well could have taken your breath away.

The lights went out and the students and educators began to perform. When we finally came to the ending with “We Can be a Light,” I felt a rush—a thrill—a sense of invigoration with life itself. As I looked out into the darkened interior of the Marriott Center, cell phones were open and shining like the distant lights of lightning bugs as they moved gently back and forth in a wash of blues, greens, and grays. As the song commenced and the chorus began, I raised my flashlight along with the thousands of other participants, and instantly became a part of something so much larger than myself. Long after the show had ended, I still sat in wonder and awe at the scope and magnitude of this truly magnificent performance. I was also grateful to be a part of it.

Would I do it again?

I did.

The next night (last, in fact) I went up with another teacher and we met up with four students who’d not had the opportunity to be in the show the first night because of a conflicting school program. Then, for the second time, I was able to take part in the Hope of America.

Needless to say, it was just as much of a thrill the second time around.

I can’t wait until next year…

(Top photo [my class is circled] courtesy of Lydia as well as the video clip)


Meg said...

That does look amazing. I'm glad you loved it!

btw; you are really cute.

MindyElias said...

That is pretty amazing............I've never heard/seen anything of that magnitude ever happen in Arizona.

I always try to tell you all the GOOD reasons you should come to AZ and teach but I can't top that....



Linn said...

Awesome, awesome! It gave me chills just looking at the photos.

jayne wells said...

Awesome. When I was at SSV, I shared the trailer with Anna Gillespie. She and her class participated in the Hope of America and they would come into our class and practice with our kids--so the third graders got to participate too. They were thrilled. Then, my students got to go and watch at the Marriott Center that morning. It was pretty amazing!

Farscaper said...

Looked awesome. "Red Pepper" told me a bit about it the day of. I asked her how it all went the next day and she really "lit up" when she told me a bit about her experience.

Thanks for the picts though. They really help to visualize what happened.

Cari said...

I'm glad it was a good experience for you. It is a pretty amazing show. I hope Max will be able to do it someday.

Cari said...

I'm glad it was a good experience for you. It is a pretty amazing show. I hope Max will be able to do it someday.

lisa said...

Petunia and Bujo did this and I LOVED it! I didn't even mind the crowds and seriously, I hate to even Christmas shop because there are too many people out there. AND...we know the Dancing Granny out there who did the splits. I think she's like, 93 now or something. My kids call her the Energizer Grandma!

lisa said...

I hope that comment just worked...I swear I'm never gonna get the hang of this...

birdeeb said...

That's awesome! LOVED the pic of the people that made the flag...way cool!

Anonymous said...

So how far away is Utah? My kids would love that. ;)

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