by YIA Mentor Artist Suraya Keating
“By My Side.” The original show created by students in Mr. Lovejoy’s class at Tam High feels appropriately titled. The show is about several characters taking a journey – a journey that is taken both alone and together. I am reminded that the creation of this show itself has been a journey – a journey that has been unique to each individual in our group, and at the same time a shared experience. Who we have had “by our sides” in this journey has fundamentally shaped our experience the journey itself. If you have ever gone on a road trip with someone whom you didn’t know very well, then you may know what I am talking about when I say that who you have by your side can completely change your experience!
In working as one of the drama facilitators, along with Melissa Briggs, at Tam High this year, I am grateful to share that the amount of support and encouragement given to each of the students in Mr. Lovejoy’s Special Day Class has been outstanding, AND the students themselves have consistently showed up for each other in a way that has supported each other’s experience. It is no small task – the act of creating a show from nothing – with students of varying special needs as well as mainstream students working together – while co-facilitating the drama program with another instructor. And yet, the atmosphere of support, trust and absolute belief in one another made the experience at Tam High one which flowed almost effortlessly.
The lesson that I take from this is an important one: when we surround ourselves with people who believe in us, who positively support and encourage us – when we choose to have those people “by our side” – anything is possible. My wish is that all young children, teens and people of all ages receive this kind of support in their lives!
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