"The Piano Man and the Chick" - Final Assembly June 6, 2014
I'm tearing up already and I haven't even typed anything yet :) Last Friday was our annual final assembly at school. Students audition and the best acts are showcased. This year one of my students, Alex, who is also "retiring", performed at the assembly. He and I have been together for 6 years - we've had our ups and downs but Friday was definitely the highlight of our time together.
Over the last 4 or 5 years Alex, who has autism, has been taking piano lessons and has done quite well at it. I asked him if he would like to play at the final assembly and while I expected him to say NO he said YES!! I asked one of his Best Buddies, Elena, if she would sing one of the songs while he played and she was very excited about it. (I didn't want him to be alone on the stage - this way she could provide a few prompts, if needed, but as a peer, a friend, a fellow performer, not as a "helper". )
She sang "Scarborough Fair"but before they started she introduced Alex and herself and then dedicated the songs to ME! So of course the tears began...I invited Alex's mom to come too and she got quite emotional. To see her son included in such a warm and natural way, to see him respected by 1,000 of his peers, it was quite a moment!
Elena starred in the school musical this year - "Pirates of Penzance" - she has the most incredible voice. Together they made quite a team.
She stayed with him while he soloed on another song "Keys of the Opera" and he did a great job. Everyone was standing and cheering before he came to the end of the song. It's moments like these that make all of those 6am mornings alone in my classroom worthwhile.
Elena was so proud and so impressed. Having her there beside Alex was pure genius. It set a shining example for the student body to see the respect she has for Alex. I do love that boy.
This will be one of my favourite memories as I head off into the sunset...