My high school students know how to face a challenge, whether it is on the basketball court, in an AP Biology class, or within the G.T. weekly seminar class. They know that whatever we do, it's got to be GREAT --nothing less is acceptable. They have learned to take on and successfully meet the challenge of optimum effort.
At the beginning of this school year I asked those outstanding young men and women what they wanted to do in G.T. this school year. I was a little surprised when they quickly responded, "Another play!" Angie (my partner in crime) and I work 'em pretty hard any time we have public performances (READ THE JANUARY 2012 ENTRY TITLED "All the Plays), knowing the hard work results in much more than a good play.
I thought about it and decided to lay down the ultimate challenge --a musical. You see, none of the students are dancers or singers. The next time we met I suggested the musical, "Bye, Bye Birdie!" expecting to hear the boys complain and the girls worried about singing. Didn't happen. They were excited, believing they could do even that --either the past theater experiences have done a good job (instilling confidence supreme!) or a bad job (no sense of reality at all). Regardless, this group of students have taken the task on with both determination and joy.
I don't know why I was surprised ...you see, these same kids are facing a true ULTIMATE challenge --loosing their school. The year has been filled with laughter, hugs, tears, and a bonding that is stronger than it would ever have been without their sorrow of not walking in familiar hallways next year.
The title of the chosen play we are ending our high school G.T. program with is both ironic and poignant --"Bye, Bye Birdie." You see, our school mascot is the cardinal. One of the kids was concerned about the insinuation of the title --did it make light of our sadness? Finally, the group decided that in the title there is strength. Our small school has given this group of young men and women the confidence and abilities they need, regardless of what life throws their way. It has given each of them wings to fly, no matter where they are. For these kids, "Bye, Bye Birdie" is their chance to say goodbye to a place they dearly love and to do so in a way that celebrates their time together.