I’m always trying to be a better person, inspire others, give my students hope. Working in a very low income community, it’s so important to get students to understand the world is theirs. This year, as I began my new role as elementary fine arts coordinator, I also began a theatre team for students with special needs and peer mentors. The Penguin Project is a unique theatrical experience for these students. In the few months that I’ve been working with these kids, I’ve seen such incredible impacts that it’s making on the lives of everyone involved. I’ve seen students that were so quiet and reserved around the mentors, now speaking up and performing their lines like a pro. Just something about going through an experience together as a group that bonds everyone in a way nothing else can. I love to see how excited everyone is to see each other when they first arrive at our rehearsals. It’s definitely life changing. Our performances will take place at the end of January, and now that we are so close to the winter break, the stress is real, but they are working through it, encouraging each other, and pushing on. In my 18 years of directing elementary theatre shows, my favorite part of the whole experience was the very end, the moments right before the actors take their bows, the moment they realize what they accomplished. I just know I am not going to be able to hold my emotions back with this production. I hope that this will teach these students that they can achieve big things, they can be stars, they are important.