Upon leaving college with a BA in Musical Theatre, I quickly became aware of the fact that my parents were worried about my future. How does a girl make something of herself with only a theatre degree? I followed my father’s advice and spent 8 years trying my hand at corporate America. I actually started in IT…as in Mainframe computers and running batch jobs, even writing some JCL!? What is that? It doesn’t matter much. What matters is I discovered that created in me, a hole sat empty. The hole, which I had heard was just a hobby, was creeping larger every day until I realized that what I had to do was fill it. Not long after I met Dr. Jim and began work at PAA. In that first interview I had hopes that PAA would be the place I would land next and to my delight, I am here.
To be honest,the work is hard. Sometimes the hours are long and I find myself struggling to make it to the bathroom to brush my teeth before falling into bed. I sometimes wonder if all this hard work is paying off.
And then, Friday happens. Most days of the year I wouldn’t have almost 200 high school students in my charge but on Friday, December 13th I did. While it started just as I expected, things quickly turned to unexpected and here were students who were new to me and I to them, looking for something that made sense. And so we created a program. We began rehearsal and went to the work of preparing for our audience. There were tears. There were kids who couldn’t stand a moment longer. There was confusion. There was hopelessness.
But there was also hope. There was also joy. As we worked through the tech run we found moments to smile and laugh. We made beautiful music and magical moments. We survived through pizza that didn’t arrive in time and ate fruit and snacks until pizza could come.
As I walked through our halls I saw courage, love, joy and friendship. I saw our hope. These students will soon be our leaders. These students and all the others I teach are the people who will craft the future. And that is why I do what I do. I believe in these kids. I believe in their ability to make the brave choice to love those around them. I believe that they will see through the chaos and noise and make the brave choice to change this world because we need it changed. We need love for the stranger next to us on the bus. We need care for the friend who seems lost. We need to stand up for those who lack food, shelter and means to make it through another cold night. We need to remember what matters most in community.
So there you have it my students, I do this for you and I expect you will rise to my expectations. I know that one day you will see in yourselves the potential that I see in you and I will continue to work to that end because I believe in you.