Yesterday was the school Christmas show at the Girls' Secondary School where I work. Now, you may be thinking that it was your average show with band and choral performances, well you are wrong. Actually very wrong. In fact, it was quite the opposite. All week I heard how teachers were frustrated by the fact that students were being pulled from lessons in order to rehearse and I can certainly sympathize with such frustrations because it is the last week before break and the students have their exams in February, unlike us Americans who don't have them until much later in the year. So as seems to be the growing educational trend, it's all about making sure that they are prepared for the exams.
Well, I have to say I am pleasantly surprised to know that such efforts were made for rehearsals because the production I saw yesterday was one purely imagined and executed by the students themselves. They do not have art, music, dance or any sort of other creative-outlet classes. They take on the sole responsibility of putting this performance together, they come up with choreography on their own, they choose the songs they want to sing and choose the theatrical performance pieces. All forms take part and all I can say is that I am so proud and even floored by the talent I witnessed yesterday. There were sets, costumes, makeup, you name it and again, all of this was solely done by them. So, what does that tell us? It tells us that creative outlets are just as important as academics. They provide for confidence building, freedom of expression and help ignite a passion and love for something. All pivotal components to developing into a well-rounded individual.
The girls supported each other, cheered and sang along to songs and were just so pumped to have the opportunity to show what they could do. I was able to take pictures and video but am unable to share for obvious reasons but I really wish I could. I saw future So You Think You Can Dance talent and X Factor/Idol talent. These gifts are not always encouraged and performances such as these are not so common here so it made me feel really great to be part of a school, that may not have the resources to offer such programs, but still allows the students to release their creative energy and have their moment to shine. It was a beautiful moment to witness and it made me so proud to see lots of my students up there dancing and singing (solo) and just looking genuinely happy.
On Tuesday, I ran into one of my favorite students, 'C', and she came up to me and said “MS. RIVERA, MS. RIVERA, may I have a hug?" To which I replied “of course you can", I began to ask her about her day and if she was performing in Christmas show and she said “YES, I'm singing Jar of Hearts". She along with a couple of other students of mine asked me quite seriously about whether I would be attending the show and I told them “Yes, I wouldn't miss it for the world, I know how talented you all are so I'm very excited to see you perform". They giggled and jumped up and down like your normal teen girls do and said “Ms. Rivera, I love you, you are a wonderful teacher, our favorite teacher, you support us" and as I walked away, they blew kisses at me...great way to end the day right? Well just imagine how I feel now knowing what I know about the performance I saw yesterday. As Mastercard says...PRICELESS. This will forever be one of my most precious moments here in Malta.
Until next time...