In August, my students started their last year of elementary school. When I asked what I could do to make this the best year ever, they all had the same response, SPIRIT SERIES! During fourth grade these students and I had the honor of working with your organization. Those three weeks we spent with SPIRIT SERIES were the best weeks of the school year! We grew so much together and created a stronger classroom community. I am truly hoping that we have the chance to do SPIRIT SERIES again.
SPIRIT SERIES gave my students an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise. It allowed them to blossom and increased their confidence. They began to participate not just socially, but academically as well. It encouraged them to read, write, speak, and listen. They were immersed in the lesson and they really grabbed on to it and made it theirs. They were able to connect it to their own lives. The theme of the play they worked with was “listen to your heart”— throughout the experience, and during so many moments in my teaching after the SERIES, students connected my lesson to this theme. But not just the lesson, to their own life as well. It was a way to build their resilience, connection to one another and support one another.
When I think of SPIRIT SERIES, one particular student comes to mind. [We will call her Nayeli.] She joined our school as a second grader. Throughout second and third grade, she rarely said a word. Her family was going through some challenging times at home, she was constantly absent, and she was struggling with academics, specifically reading. When I brought up the idea of SPIRIT SERIES to my class, I could tell that Nayeli was nervous. She even asked me if everyone would have to participate.
However, after the first day, when the class met Ms. Morgan, all those nerves turned into excitement. Nayeli was smiling from ear to ear when she learned she would play the role of Mammy. She was committed and her attendance increased during those three weeks. She did not want to miss a day of SPIRIT SERIES! In our performance, she blew us all away! She spoke loudly, clearly, and read fluently. Her mom, teachers, principal, and staff watched so proudly in the audience as this once shy student was confidently reading her lines and actually enjoying herself. This provided her with an outlet to shine and now we saw her in a new light.
We are hoping to bring SPIRIT SERIES back to our school this year!
With much gratitude,
Fifth Grade Teacher
Aspire Antonio Maria Lugo Academy