Every Wednesday morning the halls are abuzz with incredible energy for Opera Class. Students walk from place to place with purpose. They know they have a job and they must be prepared. From 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. we meet as a company to work in our respective job groups. Our talented and dedicated volunteers work with us as we specialize in learning the specific skills necessary to carry out the responsibilities in creating an original opera. Each company member becomes an expert in his or her field. The groups work independently. Then, little by little, as we move through the process, students recognize the significance and purpose of each job group and learn that without all groups combining effort and commitment, the opera could not happen. A sense of interdependence is born. There’s no turning back. It’s all for one and one for all.
Weather interruptions have kept us from meeting on three consecutive Wednesdays. This would present a definite setback for most people working toward a common goal with a timeline and strict deadlines to meet. But for Lightning Strike Kids Opera Company, the challenge has inspired great tenacity and perseverance. Students offer to give up recess, take on homework assignments to advance the project and come in early to work. Parents and colleagues report that company members are worried about missing school and verbalize their concerns with comments such as, “We cannot miss school tomorrow. There is too much work to be done. We only have ten more Wednesday work sessions until the opera premiere. We have to be at school. We have lost so much time already.” Commitment. Perseverance. Collaboration. Initiative. These are essential life skills that even adults have difficulty learning. These skills do not come from a textbook nor are they represented on a standardized test. But they are perhaps, the most important skills we can foster if we want our students to be successful in life.
Performers improvise to create scenario.
Composers write theme song chorus.
Imari makes phone calls for a parent meeting. This is his first.