Target Arts Book Ceremony

The Josiah Quincy Third Graders

Posted 15 April 2015 12:00 AM by Jeremy Gooden

The Quincy, as we call it, is one of two schools that the Citi Performing Arts Center’s Education Department served this spring, as a part of the Target Arts Program.

Two years ago, I had the honor of working with this particular bunch of young artist scholars. At that time, they were bright, quick-witted first graders. They were eager and confident in expressing their thoughts and ideas when sitting behind a desk. However, onstage, they were unsure, timid, and had difficulties expressing themselves artistically. Upon being reintroduced to the group at the beginning of this year’s spring residency, I noticed immediately that my meek, mild-mannered munchkins had transformed into a ball of feverish, unfocused energy. I was nervous.

I feared that classroom management and ensemble building would be difficult with such a raucous group of young people. But, the glass is always half full. As first graders, their performance suffered due to their unwillingness to take risks, be silly, and put themselves “out there”. They had clearly surpassed that barrier of shyness. And within the first two weeks, I noticed an improvement in their performance abilities. Many of them are now able to make bold artistic choices without much direction.

It has been an honor to work with these smart and energetic young people. And seeing their growth has been an amazing experience in itself. It was a pleasure to create, teach, and learn with this group and see them make more leaps and bounds in their academic and social development.

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