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Hello everyone! My name is Laina Vitalie and I am the new Education Fellow – otherwise known as “The Queen of Enthusiasm” at SPARC. I am excited to announce that I will be taking over our blog once a week, effective immediately. I look forward to sharing all the many creative activities and happenings in the world of theatre education at SPARC! I thought my first blog post would be used to communicate with you what I have been up to since I joined SPARC in September.

My first month has been very educational and enlightening. I have had the opportunity to work with multiple classes ranging from the elementary to middle school level as well as assisting with the daily operations of the LIVE ART program – both which have been extremely rewarding.

One of my favorite things about being in the classroom and working with the various students is witnessing them unleash their creativity through the arts. Whether they are incorporating the dab into a name game, or having a group of young Jedi’s remind me that we cannot leave on our mission to find Luke Skywalker until we pack our bananas, my heart is full when I see them use their imaginations. It is extremely rewarding to watch these individuals create fun and memorable experiences. Interacting with the students and watching them display their individual talents is truly a highlight and makes my job SPARC-tacular. Of course, with all of this creativity being unlocked, we can get a little silly in the process.

While I cherish every moment of the students’ silliness and laughter, one recent experience truly impressed me. During a game of “Night at the Museum,” my energetic students were busy forming their best statue positions while our museum night guard was frantically waving his flashlight and attempting to catch these mischievous statutes, which were causing havoc in the museum. While the game continued, I was surprised to see, out of the corner of my eye, one of the clever students decided his statue position would be “the plank.” As he froze, secure in his plank, he shouted, “This is what gym class is for!” I belted out a belly laugh as I thought this was hysterical—actually, it was one of the funniest things I have experienced as a Teaching Artist. I will definitely treasure moments like this and will be sure to share these humorous episodes with others.

Hope you enjoyed the first installment, of Laina’s Adventures at SPARC! Please check back next week for more exciting updates! I will be attending The Virginia Theatre Association’s annual conference (https://www.vtasite.org/annual-conference), in Norfolk, October 25 – 29th. I will be sure to share the highlights of this conference. If you are attending this enlightening and educational conference, please stop by the SPARC table in the exhibit hall to say hello!

Until next time!