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… But we surely would like to give you the chance. That was the message I tried to deliver to my students today.

The Flynn staff graciously invited us to come visit the mainstage today. And my principal, despite the short notice, has allowed it all to happen. Thank you, Amy Mellencamp. I so much appreciate your support. Every time I go to her: “It sounds like a great opportunity. Go ahead.”

And so it is.

Again, I’m feeling so fortunate! Counting all of those blessings…

There was nervous laughter all around as my students walked up to the stage. Fear and celebration–depending on the victim–as they approached the microphone and tried to bring their BIG VOICES.

And I found out a couple of my boys are in love with mikes. Rock stars. That’s what they want to be…Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 7.24.43 PM (Just too bad the music they’ve fallen in love with has language that cannot be used here.)

Susan Palmer, our artist in residence, met us at the Flynn and tried to give students a preview of what we are trying to accomplish with this new project. We’re trying to create a piece that will bring in emotions that can be conveyed despite language barriers and age and socio-economic status.

And I wish we could have started with this group a lot earlier.

My friend Stacy Raphael dropped by to see how things were going. And to drop off a much-appreciated latte. She is program director at the Flynn. She asked how it was going. I told her that I thought they were doing really well, sharing my distress about the lack of time to create something really great.

They are ready to take risks, ready to try something new, but they don’t quite get what we are asking of them. Say this with emotion. Think about a story when you had to listen. We thought by allowing them to express themselves in their first language that we could bypass a few steps. That is not proving to be the case.

It’s not that these kids don’t have emotions. I have seen them angry beyond belief. I have seen them regress in an instant. I have seen some of them cry. I have seen shock. I have seen fear. But to express these vocally… It’s strange to me that this could be such a different language. But it is.

IMG_3456I so wish this–what we do with the Flynn–could be part of our curriculum for English Language Learners, part of what we do. These students, these young adults, need a voice. And it’s so hard to find that voice in the middle of trying to learn another language, learn content, follow rules AND search for your identity in the world.

Our partnership with the Flynn has fostered risk-taking in the most positive way. It has created community that can be counted in years across cultural and language boundaries. It has developed voice where there before were only whispers.

I love these people and what they do to for our students and their personal outlook on life.

So feast your eyes on a few of our voices, as we test them out on the Mainstage.


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