Katie Mann
January 8, 2015

Please watch the video below.  At first glance it is a simple, heart-warming piece of 20 or so students doing a rhythm stick routine.  But let me tell you what I see…

I see 20 students who are labeled various degrees of “low-verbal” and “low-functioning.”  A group of students who I am often challenged to get and hold their attention become riveted by the rhythm, being able to follow, copy, and perform.   Who, when first handed a rhythm stick become anything but “low functioning.”

One of my students whose character was an animals did not speak to us for weeks, until we handed him a rhythm stick.  The next class he spoke single words.  The next sentences.  Then his lines.  The rhythm sticks unlocked his imagination.

I see 10 or more typical teenage girls who took the time to mentor my students.  To help them engage, learn, and have an opportunity to be on stage.

Two of my actors are brothers.  The older helps the younger all through class putting his brother’s needs before his own.

And I see one of my “Queen Elsa’s” who 15 days prior to this showcase was in the hospital.  Her parents were told by doctors she would not live.  And now she’s here.  Not only performing but flourishing.

I see the parents, tears in their eyes of pride and wonderment in watching their child.  Their talented, talented children shining, smiling succeeding.

I see the sticks themselves, which were not a 4th Wall purchase, but a gift from the Kiwanis of Plymouth when they heard there were students in need of instruments.  They opened up their wallets on the spot and handed me enough $1, $5, and $10s to help these students succeed.

And I know, that behind the camera stands people from Open Box Productions who, on six days notice, were asked to come to the Friendship Circle to record this moment.

And what a special moment it is built on many shoulders.  Enjoy.