Thursday, July 3rd
Traditionally, Independence Day is celebrated with the explosive energy of fireworks on July fourth. This year, the students at La Europa got to experience a bit of that energy on the day before the celebrations through a visit from Shaun Parry.
Shaun is a veteran performer based out of New York City. His career encompasses work as a singer, dancer, actor, and choreographer on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in national and international Broadway tours, the Metropolitan Opera, the National Ballroom Championships, MTV, cruise ships, and more. He has taught, performed, choreographed, directed, and lectured at numerous studios, colleges, and universities worldwide. Among many more honors, Shaun is also the President and Founder of Promethean Spark International, an incredible nonprofit organization whose mission is “Teaching life skills through training in the performing arts to impoverished youth worldwide; breaking the cycle of poverty by inspiring change from within.”
In his lecture and workshop at La Europa, Shaun used this methodology to help our students uncover their personal power in the same way he helps youth all over the world. He spent time connecting with each of them and describing the type of work that he does. He talked with them about their choice to give 100% of themselves, not only through the work they would do together, but through life in general. He also established individual and group accountability and all of the students agreed to participate fully.
After the initial discussion, Shaun turned on music and taught some choreography, focusing on noticing and observing details, on reaching beyond limitations, and on following instructions. The kids responded well and were invested as a group throughout their time together. Afterwards, they processed the experience in a circle and discussed the lessons they learned. The positive energy and connection in the room was palpable, and Shaun stayed afterwards for a while to talk with the students and answer questions.
The afternoon was a little more low-key, and the students went to the theater to see Disney’s Maleficent. That evening, they had the choice to go to the rec center to swim.
Friday, July 4th
We started Independence Day with a beautiful hike up to the Bell Canyon reservoir in Sandy. The weather was perfect and the view was incredible. We played in the water, took pictures, and enjoyed the sun on our skin before heading back to the residence.
After a barbecue lunch, the kids brought their A-games to an epic water baseball square-off between the Lunas and the Stellas. The pitched, hit, stole bases, and slid into home on a field with kiddie pools, hoses, and slip-and-slides. We had a great time and were able to make some fun memories.
We cooled off with some ice cream before doing hygiene for the evening’s activities: a Real Salt Lake soccer game and a Salt Lake Bees baseball game, with the students choosing their attendance preference. After enjoying the games, each group of students watched the fireworks display that the venues provided and came home for some well-earned sleep.
Thanks to all of our families who came out to Utah for our most recent parent seminar! As usual, we capped off the weekend with a fantastic Creation-themed fine arts festival at the Sugar Space Studio for the Arts. Highlights from the festival included a hip hop dance choreographed by Ali Monsen (who will be leaving to pursue a career as a television news anchor shortly), a professional commercial filmed by our film class, original songs by several students, footage from our week-long student film festival, beautiful renditions of cover songs, a stop-motion film by the photography class, and the traditional closing slideshow. Also, special thanks to our fashion design and 3-D design classes for the displays in the gallery. Footage from the festival will be posted shortly on the family web site.
We have a few more days off of school next week and several fun things planned! Stay tuned for more updates soon.