“Passing the Mic” was a piece of my heart that somehow I was able to put into writing. In my own little world in a suburb of Boston, I witnessed my students transform into superheroes. It’s still difficult for me to grasp the idea that together we learned how to embrace who we are and who we never thought we could be.
A few days ago, my heart grew. I decided to join Lourds Lane and her SuperYou team once again this time, however, visiting a school in Queens, NY. Known as “the school with heart,” it was one of fourteen NYC summer schools that adopted SuperYou as their theme. I felt that if I had the opportunity to see the curriculum in action outside of my classroom, I should jump on it so I did. What I found was astounding.
Administrators, teachers, students, and parents joined forces to empower themselves and each other in a culminating event celebrating their superhero journeys. They kicked it off by proudly chanting the “SuperYou Core Qualities Poem” while marching around their track. An unbroken message, voices grew louder and louder awakening the community around them to something never heard before.
Individual classrooms transformed into teams running to the middle of a basketball court, their own center stage. Here they declared their superpowers and superhero names while showing off their magnificent poses. And of course, each declaration concluded with the audience cheering, “We feel your power!” because we did.
Being a specialized school serving a unique population, not only did I meet superhero students, but I was blown away by a superhero staff. Educators leading these children from the administrators and specialists to the classroom teachers and paraprofessionals, together have created a rock star cast. By just observing their genuine excitement and interactions in a few short hours, I could easily tell how much heart goes into their work daily. I had the honor to speak with many of these wonderful teachers as well as their inspirational principal who clearly understands his population of students. When he shared with us that he knows he is doing a good job as kids want to come back the next day, I smiled knowing I would too.
Toward the end of the celebration, an exceptional student approached Lourds feeling a little shy in saying “hello.” Without thinking about it, I put my arm around her and asked her what her superhero name was, which she bravely stated as “Talent USA.” I asked her if she would like to meet Lourds and she, of course, responded with an eager smile and nod. I listened to her express so eloquently how she once felt the need to hide her voice yet now had the desire to share it with the world through singing. She went on to describe how inspired she became as soon as she heard, “I Am A Superhero,” and how the curriculum empowered her to be courageous. I rarely become emotional in front of people I don’t know, but this was certainly an exception.
It’s so clear to me now the power one curriculum has in transforming lives outside of what my students experienced. As a teacher and parent, I think about the world’s potential if only every school were to adopt the SuperYou Curriculum. To be empowered can change a life. To be empowered together can and will change the world. “The school with heart” is indeed all heart and is pumping its blood heroically. I thank this special school in Queens and all of the superheroes playing a role in making it what it is every day as they truly show up for their kids and each other. You are a model to us all, leading the way in teaching students what really matters. As superhero, “Captain Possible,” pulsed throughout the celebration with pride, “Empower!”
To Lourds, your curriculum continues to speak for itself and the connections you make with each school have created an indescribable energy you can only understand if you’ve seen it. So, educators, go see it. It will change your life and as a result, change the lives of your students. And that means everything.
(taken from my iPhone)