Such is Life

When the circus came to town

Posted 5/14/20

My stint as a tightrope walker lasted a single day, but it’s a day I’ve never forgotten.

For Powell kids, the Kindergarten Circus is an exciting, culminating event of the first year of …

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Such is Life

When the circus came to town

Posted

My stint as a tightrope walker lasted a single day, but it’s a day I’ve never forgotten.

For Powell kids, the Kindergarten Circus is an exciting, culminating event of the first year of school. With vivid colors, loud songs, fun surprises for the audience and a jam-packed gym, it’s the kind of memorable event that stays with you, long after you leave elementary school.

My own kindergarten journey got off to a rocky start in 1989, when I dropped out of developmental kindergarten. With a late August birthday, I had just turned 5 years old and couldn’t quite handle the rigors of school. To be honest, I just wanted to be at home with my mom and watch reruns of “The Brady Bunch” every afternoon while my three older siblings were stuck at school.

After packing up my crayons and refusing to return to the classroom, my parents enrolled me in Ladybug Preschool, with classes a couple of mornings each week. The following year, I reattempted kindergarten at Southside Elementary School.

My teacher, Mrs. Damori, made learning seem exciting. I remember her laugh filling our colorful classroom, and she welcomed me with a warm hug.

When it came time for the circus, I was excited to be selected as a tightrope walker. My mom found the perfect outfit for my debut performance: A red leotard with sparkly sleeves and a white tutu.

As I walked across the beam, the butterflies in my stomach swarmed, and my foot stumbled. I don’t recall which teacher was standing nearby to encourage me, but I remember a kind grownup telling me it was OK, and I could try again. So just like my re-entry into kindergarten, I stepped up on that beam again and made it the full way across.

I’ve been thinking about the Kindergarten Circus this spring. When it became clear that kids wouldn’t return to finish out the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was sad for the kindergartners who will be missing their circus. Of course, I feel bad for kids in every grade who are missing fun end-of-the-year activities this spring. But the Kindergarten Circus is such a quintessential experience for a Powell kid. It’s hard to explain the magic to people who didn’t experience it as a bright-eyed kindergartner.

While the 2020 circus won’t happen, kids still are being recognized for their roles in today’s edition of the Tribune. Southside Principal Scott Schiller came up with the idea to highlight the students in a circus-themed layout, and we’re thankful for the local businesses who stepped up to support this feature.

In the course of putting together an article about the circus, I reached out to Virginia Damori, the teacher who warmly welcomed me into her kindergarten class 30 years ago. Mrs. Damori recalled memories from early performances, and we both remarked how sad we are for the kids who won’t get to experience their circus this spring.

But after talking to Mrs. Damori and longtime teacher Lanette Carter, I was reminded of educators’ ability to reassure kids that it’s going to be OK, especially in difficult times when things don’t go as planned. Kindergarten teachers also have the power to make each child believe they are special — because circus or no circus, Powell kids shine brightly.

Such is Life

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