The Golden Globes, Awards Not Included.

The GLOBES! (Glorious Love of Beings Especially Socially?)

No, actually they are just the 75th annual Golden Globes,  and honestly, I never really watch the whole show, nor wanted to.

This year was different.

I am a social media guru, I love the connections that exist between education and social media, the good and the bad, and this year, for obvious reasons, it seemed to, The Golden Globes might actually have some merit and something valuable to say.

I am glad I thought so and decided to check in.

Seth Meyers was GREAT.  His monologue, it just worked.  Even NPR was discussing how difficult it would be to dance around the elephant in the room, (actually, ELEPHANTS). His quips about who was a stable genius, – HYSTERICAL, and “Hilary Mexican Salad Association”, comment?  Also, HYSTERICAL

The impressive aspect about the Golden Globes was even though there usually is some type of theme or movement, never before did I witness the attendance of individuals representing a common united cause, that were not necessarily stars known for their movies or films, but for their movement towards a social cause that made them starts.  This was MORE than a collection of stars saying they alone were doing something, they involved the very members of a movement such as Times Up to send ripples that equality for women, and men, in a business arena, is everyone’s concern. 

Since it had been known for days before this event (weeks) this this would contain the attire of black as well as attending members that represented the start of this movement, it saddened me that no words or comments or tweets were made by our president cabinet on this topic.  Much was said AFTER The Golden Globes, but here was a prime opportunity for the American leader and government to support this initiative BEFORE the event, and nothing.  Nada.   Lots of comments afterwards by Ivanka in support, but again, it seemed to be much taking credit for issues that happened after others set the path.  This spoke volumes to me about the sincerity and honesty of such comments but also showed me the power of peolle are much more powerful than agendas of the rich and elite when individuals want it to count,  that is a powerful lesson in itself.  The Movement is POWERFUL and IMPORTANT, but the ACTION to followup these initiatives is even more important.

I liked that HFPA was also a huge part of the night and again, Seth Meyer’s comments were so appropriate with the reactions of the President and news as of late.  A homerun on Seth Meyers’ part. “During the telecast, HFPA announced $2 million in grants to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Committee To Protect Journalists.” – 

I was elated, shocked, and sad to only have learned about the life of Recy Taylor from her death.  There is MUCh we need to change above news coverage in the United States in lieu of this tragic loss and unknown history.

I loved,  LOVED the speech given by nominated actor, Sterling K. Brown, get this


-to me that seems incredible this being 2018 and LONG LONG overdue.

But listening to Barbra Streisand who received the first, and only, best director award as a woman – that was 1984.  Her point that it is now 2018 and still no female best director since – it seems crazy to me too.  Ridiculous.

His speech stating  he appreciated “…Being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am…” spoke VOLUMES and represented the night well. When he said that it “…makes it that more difficult to dismiss me or anyone that looks like me.”  LOVED LOVED LOVED this night, amazing.

Literary connections ruled when The Handmaid’s Tale won, and I loved the comment when The Greatest Showman won and it was stated this is showing that musicals on the big screen again mattered.  I thought of all the opportunities that exist that allow some amazing stories to be told in a musical format, and what that can hold for the future.

Of course I was excited that Coco won best animated feature film and  Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro won for The Shape of Water, .

Was it amazing to see Kirk Douglas – yes, this was shocking to see him.  First, that he is 101 years old but on top of that, had been accused of raping Natalie Wood and on such a night of solidarity, I was disappointed in this move.  I would have chosen to bypass the recognition of Kirk Douglas on this evening, so of course, there is disappointment in any event, at some point.

However, the speech that Oprah Winfrey gave after receiving the Cecil B. de Mille Award it blew the roof OF THE HOUSE, as well as the world, as well as the introduction from Reese Witherspoon.  Oprah said everything you would have hoped would have come from the mouth of a president of a country, and then some, and that never has.  Bringing together people as a world occurred one single speech,  based of a lifetime of doing so through action in doing so. 

Embracing diversity, the working class, the middle class, and tying to an upper class, and addressed emotion, empathy, and establishing role models for young women individuals of diversity in all backgrounds.  She recognizes the strength, and the weaknesses of the press but does not chide them.  Her devotion to the truth is more valuable and emphasizes the value of speaking the truth in the midst of repercussions that might occur.  Her emphasis to know Recy Taylor hit home and to the heart. 

Her statement to all young girls, boys and society that, “A new Day is on the Horizon” – is powerful and should have been spoken already ahead of time from leaders of our country, but what is even more important – is the action that each of us as individuals have the ability, every day to override the dark aspects that government often feels that can hand down overriding individual voices- it can’t happen as long as all individuals take this ownership seriously and act on it. It doesn’t to feel supported as many of the individuals at the Golden Globes made many feel.

To see the incredible nominations from the 75th Golden Globes you can check HERE  I love the fact that the Golden Globes does give you a list of to check out items that you may not have seen while keeping the speeches in mind as you watch them to remind you what the productions symbolize in real life.

 What I realized that this particular Golden Globes represented what might be missing in so much of the world, but what can appear when we want positive changes to occur.  This was a powerful POWERFUL night, awards not included. 

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After All, The Golden Falls on the Individuals…

Much has happened that have caused alot of potential thoughts and links to life links and connections as well.  Let’s jump right in… (this is epitome of showing how my mind wanders and links to so many thins, but always comes back to so many people that make a difference every single day!)

In the car the other day, after the cyclone bomb of a storm, I was driving and grabbing pictures of many unknown images to many but familiar to those in Delaware, and a specific song came on that grabbed my attention, Call it What You Want by Taylor Swift.   I never really fell over crazily Taylor Swift, (even though I really liked Debbie Gibson in high school) – and well it was interesting to see Taylor start out the same way.  Then some interesting things happening on stage when she was presented an award and then playing the bad girl with controversy in her video, Look at What You Made Me Do.  Then I simply thought, good for her.  All this time she was placed in that cookie cut model of the girlish, young artists, with so much to learn, being put upon by artists “in the biz” for so long, weighing and pressing their fame onto her, and her placating alot of attitudes all around her.  Then I realized, with that controversial video causing a clamor, it was GOOD she caused a clamor, because as a woman in a rough, ego-driven business, she was able to cause others to be uncomfortable and have to be in a position she had found herself for so long. 

These are the kinds of things I think about when driving.

As I was driving one of the oddest and saddest things occurred in front of me.  Midflight, a seagull stopped and just fell out of the sky onto the highway, in the left lane, and it just shocked me.  Yes, I was the person that wanted to stop and grab the seagull and put him n the backseat and hope it was the cold weather and he needed a bit of heating up.  No idea, but it still saddened me as individuals tried to miss the seagull in the lane and he seemed done when he hit but of course, hard to tell when traffic is all around you. 

As that broke me out of my Taylor contemplations, I began to reflect on the massive movements occurring changing the faces of business and Hollywood in lieu of revelations of women confronting a former long history of abuse.  I thought of the many comments made in the past in the part of so many men that continue to take advantage of the thoughts that they matter more than the women around them and thought – it is sad one single revelation had to occur to cause so many overdue revelations that were overdue.  I for some reason went back to when the newer version of the movie Ghostbusters movie came out. I remember there being a ton of backlash about this being a lesser ovie trying to reprise the original film.

I remember the original Ghostbusters and LOVED IT. To me, the original is the original.  However, when I watched the newer version, I loved it.  I loved the diverse personalities that took the place of what used to be all male characters, and let me tell you, the story was the same and was just as funny, just in a different version.  Still loved the original and it brought the value of this new version out even more and not taking away anything.  When I looked at comments about this being a lesser movie, I saw alot of negativity that dealt with, and not blatantly outright saying, the women’s role did not compare.  It bothered me because I liked it so darn much BECAUSE of the female roles.  Just saying…

My thoughts wandered through my camera, onto a landscape in Delaware, I never really  had time to appreciate and now had a second chance – thanks to the amazing transformation and influence a country as rich in culture as you could want in Mexico gave me.  That evening, yes, I passed Taco Bell and I HAD TO DO IT.  It had been AT LEAST 14 years since I had frequented the grand opening of Taco Bell in Butler, PA, took advantage of the punch card there for the opening, eating 60 tacos in a week to obtain the coveted Bull Winkle shirt, and yes, I still have the shirt and yes I lived – but never forgot tacos.  Until I went to Mexico – the taco mecca – (little did I know then) – 

These are the kinds of things I think about when driving…

so I thought yes, it was time.  I decided on the dinner pack of like 10 or so tacos and asked IMG_6949for them to all be soft tacos, maybe a little much.  But it had been a long time, so I went for it. I thought I would have food left over, but I found by the end of the night, only three would remain and they would be gone as well.  The biggest difference that cannot be replicated, by far, is the meat and the taste of the meat.  Fresh tasting, smelling, and even texture, there is NOTHING, nor will there ever be, an experience like eating a taco on the street or in a Taqueria in Mexico.  It was somewhat familiar from the opening of that first Taco Bell years ago, but not even close to what could never be repeated.

As I closed the evening heading back after a refreshing day, I found myself realizing many takeaways that mattered today in the middle of so much controversy.  I was excited to see the stance that the Golden Globes was taking, with the Times Up initiative, as well as the choice to wear all black in solidarity.  I thought, it is easy to do this when you are a celebrity but  No – 

This was addressed and I appreciated it at the Golden Globes, the statement that this was an issue that affected every individual, and heads out from stars to those that are stars but not recognized as stars from Hollywood.   I agreed.  I realized the most powerful events I remembered, thanks to my experience in education, have been the moments that some of the most talented young women I had the privilege to teach and have gone on to teach others by their example.  This important moment to emphasize the power and voice women have on the community around them was not lost on me. 

These young women became leaders in their community and world, and braved through so many hardships and hurdles that most would give up.  I am the better person for seeing the REAL Golden Globes being the young ladies that have become women and earned the respect of all around them, and are symbols every day for what respect, determination, and talent will do for their future, and those around them.  No matter the gloom and doom that seems on the horizon when you wake up, I have learned there is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS a way out for a better day if individuals are motivated to make those changes.  The students I was lucky enough to have, inspired that in me, and still do- and they are the real Goldens that are around the world that make the world shine, every single day.

Stay tuned for the next post reflecting on the outcome of the 75th Golden Globes Awards, that extends beyond stars that seem out of reach or being able to relate to.  🙂 


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Takeaways After the Fact – Citizen or Government Active?

As 2017 ended, we did look at a project the American School Foundation’s Repentino. Magazine began unraveling a project of individuals interviewed at the 2017 Art Fair, directly involved with the earthquake of 2017. This was the 48th Art Fair and Repentino. would so their share to redefine what an art magazine means to do for the community, immediate and nation-wide.  Change is possible. This is an extraordinary Art Fair, and I was lucky to be part of ASF to witness this amazing event in past years that brings together an amazing amount of talent together in one place.  Ana Elena Perez Lemus, President of the Parents Association of The American School Foundation, does a great job of going into the details that allow this to be unique.  

I think it is appropriate that the theme was Utopia this year.  As the Art Fair determines to bring a multitude of  individuals, it is not difficult to see how Repentino. Magazine does the same thing, well maybe it is more glances required.  Through the eclectic activities of Open Mic events, Authors Among US events, being supporters of local charity drives, as well as involved in events that do not seem to have anything to do with art, as the above mentioned involvements and social media that explores avenues of author and artist interviews, a closer look is necessary.  In that closer look, you will see that a single club can have the power to find a single network to facilitate, suggest, and motivate individuals that change is possible.  

It takes energy, motivation, and will to want change for students to initiate a project out of thin air, creating something out of nothing, yet, Repentino. as a literary arts magazine continues to redefine how to make impacts that send resounding voice bytes for change.  This is a different type of art. Bringing together  individuals that that represent so many talents, in the form of artists, staff. faculty, administration, school organizations outside of Repentino., individuals within the country, outside the country, it is often easy to forget the impact that is possible.

Within the organization, there is much balancing that causes so many blinders to see what is happening.  With a heavy schedule of homework and assignments that always hover on an academic schedule that differs as an international student, seeing internal changes that impact a club when staff leave, filling those spots, spinning a creative twist on activities, and even the stress of senior staff departing and seeing a legacy of motivation and achievement float into the uncertain future, it is so easy to take for granted the potential and achievements that hover in the international realm, let alone avoiding the stress of day to day activities that it takes to keep an organization unique.  Burnout, stress, and conflict undoubtedly arise, but how those are overcome truly define an organization, and at some point, self versus the public good begin to shift balances once staff are able to step back from what they gave been doing mid year.

In hearing NPR’s segment on looking back at what happened with the 2017 Mexico Earthquake, in questioning what happened to the early warning system, it is refreshing, if not motivating, to see back in November of 2017 many individuals were in a situation to contemplate this question, but to celebrate the role citizens played to support each other when cracks in government seemed to fall short.  In addressing this issue and pushing this information out to the public to challenge and push the government to be allies with citizens, love of country seeps out in volumes.  If students, faculty, and administration can come together in a formal event, and informal vocal events,  and strategize one aspect if improvement needed to shout out to citizens within Mexico and outside of Mexico to hear, so much else is possible,  Puerto Rico, equal rights for women in professional and recreational sectors, art redefined as the art you see but also the art you feel.  Making art real, is a challenge that the staff of Repentino, always tries to tackle, and being vocal is one one artistic way to push out art and have it serve as a common meeting ground for other initiatives for change. It is refreshing to see the frequent blockades, hurdles, and stress that occur in everyday life on the part of students, to put the power of art to reach into society for positive change, and to take events from the past and allow them to be future advents for change as well.

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As the interviews are added and edited, (we have over 40!) we also hope you hear the student voice of possibility, change, and a willingness to work towards a better future for the governments that work with citizens, not just in Mexico, but all over the world.  Add to that a willingness of individuals from all positions, all ages, willing to contribute, and you have a lesson of change that is not confined to borders.  We hope you hear that too.



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Mexico 2017’s Message to the World, In the Face of Obstacles, People United make the Difference Wake Up to Unity!

As Repentino. collects together the responses given to us from many Mexican citizens about the earthquake that changed so much in Mexico as a country, you can look back and see how a single event united a whole nation, an example that every country, every individual, should be proud to take this as a lesson for the new year. 

Viva Mexico in the face of such a tumultuous obstacle in 2017!  

Check out here, the beginnings of what will be a long list of accounts that shows in the face of adversity, good can prevail in the people that make up a country!

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Liliana the Leader and M. the Magnificent…Education should be fun 100%

The last day of 2017 brings with it much nostalgia, and hopefully, despite the craziness that was a tumultuous 2017, we all have memories, sad and bright, that lead us to do better things for ourselves in 2018.  

I had the pleasure of traveling from Mexico City to Delaware with a brood full of dogs after a game changer involving a new position, new friends, new everything, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.  

One specific moment stuck out and I can’t shake, it, I am glad.  Every year for the past few years I was lucky enough to serve as a Summer Camp educator at ASF in English.  My last summer, little did I know was this summer, 2017.  I was lucky enough to be paired up with educator Liliana Dominguez for the students that were now in first and second Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 12.26.06 PMgrade.  When I first started this summer camp, I was like whoa, no way. I am . high school educator, kindergarten?   First grade?  Um, wow, I can’t….but yeah, I could, would and did, and that was due to some amazing support from classroom support like Lisa, to supporting leadership like John Powell, Patricia Montes, and Paloma Fuentes and the many amazing teachers that made up ASF summer camp.   I was able to take the fundamentals of getting to know our community from Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Program, and apply to the various themes of My City, My Culture, My Artists, My Authors, and this past summer, I was paired with Liliana.  I had no idea what I was in for.

LilianaLiliana worked harder than i thought I ever would, she carried me through so many challenges and in turn helped me challenge myself, as well as the students.  She was a creative guru I needed to carry on through the summer.  From passports, to having every student get up in front and experimenting with presenting their final research and project, to having stamp-like passport stamps made that said Mexico – to coming up with countless ways to research all kinds of countries, combing Brain Pop presentations to the real books to the real lives of authors and artists, we had created the ultimate Maker Space every single day.  Yes it was work, but it was FUN.  This set in motion a respect for the things we attempted and created every single day for us as instructors as well as students.  She pushed me and I was a better educator for the students as a result.  Surrounded by amazing and motivated educators as well, it certainly took a village to make the summer camp be a utopia of possibilities.  Liliana pushed herself as well.  She worked SO incredibly hard outside of the ASF camp and I wondered how she brought so much incredible ideas to the lessons within the summer sessions. Yet she kept coming and coming for unending support.

The time we spent with the students, some from ASF, other from outside of ASF was priceless.  The afternoons, questions, and innocent energy the students through into the chance to visit other countries without having to board a plane, having students create their own stories and books, processing their passports to be familiar with what it means to be appreciative and aware of other cultures – it was a learning experience, packed with work for both the learner and the facilitator and yet, it was FUN.  The work was fun.

One specific afternoon, we were walking from class, M (keeping her identity secure) the magnificent grabbed my hand, we walked towards the cafeteria and she said to me, “Mr Harry?  Do you know why so many people want to come to ASF and summer camp?”  “I responded back to M.,  I am not sure?” (knowing she had a thought).  “I think it is because we are unique!”  I smiled looked down and had to say, “I know it is!”  It was just as you would want to remember it, the sun was in our faces, we made our way to lunch, and it had been a FUN day and she was a star.

M. and Liliana reminded me of what education was always about.  yes it was hard at times being in school right after a school year was over and it was summer.  Yes it was work to plan, revise, review the planes we made.  No it was not hard to make the lessons better when you had individuals like Liliana and M. in you day.  It was amazing.

Life and education should go hand in hand, and if educator, and the student, are learning the work lends itself to FUN, and that BOTH will grow, education does not need to be in a specialized building or district, it simply needs to be an investment by all concerned.

I never can get M’s words out of my mind, that enthusiasm, investment and her amazing ability to create her own unique interpretation of the information presented to her.  Of all the countries she could have chosen to focus on, she chose a city in the United States Mas her place to brag about and research.  I wanted to be able to represent the United States in the future, for many to be proud of in how they see others, in our country and outside of our country.  This enthusiasm filtered to the educators and it changed and reformatted the approach to what education means to everyone involved.  This does not involve a special school, community, building or type of funding, it requires devotion and commitment to what education should look like to be FUN.  I was lucky enough to have so much support, opportunity, 

ASF, Mexico, and amazing students like M changed me as a person and how I looked at other cultures, other countries, and the gratefulness I had for being openly accepted as an outsider into another culture, another language, another country, another educational system is something that changed me forever.  So it was with Liliana’s devotion to bringing amazing approaches to pushing students to be successful, as well as M. to be representative of how amazing students, learning, and education can be to your mind and your heart.

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The Summits of Our Discontent…Putting Plans Into Action Through Summits and Collaboration.

SummitWhat exactly does the word of summit mean?  I asked myself this after reflecting on the 4th Western Sussex Summit that was held a Woodbridge High School, December 1, 2017.  




1. the highest point of a hill or mountain.

synonyms: (mountain) top, peakcrestcrownapextipcaphilltop

“the summit of Mount Washington
a meeting between heads of government.
“a summit conference”
synonyms: meetingnegotiationconference, talk(s), discussion

“the next superpower summit”

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I also realized summits can be the starting place for aspects of education we are unhappy with and to pull together and solve.

I instantly revert back to a gathering of minds we had at The American School Foundation – the Google Summit on August 31st and September 1, 2012 – and I thought – HUGE SUCCESS.  

Then another success story was the ASOMEX Tri Conference at ASF, September 23, 2011 – September 25, 2011.  Another HUGE success.

Recently the Western Sussex Summit again, was a successful event on many levels and this is why.

ANYTIME you figure out that all levels of educated contributors, together have a better chance of solving, recognizing, and formulating ideas to put into action for better results, you have a better step forward.  Divisions between administrators, teachers, librarian media specialists, paras, nurses, even substitutes, and including all – I think it makes a drastic impact and then to carry it one step further, DO something more than generate great ideas, implement them maybe I think the “exit ticket” for each summit is to show how ideas and plans implemented have been taken to a first step to be implemented, I like that idea.

Before I delve into the highlights from this years Western Sussex Summit, I wanted to share a story I thought had a direct connection.  Listening to this podcast, on how a fans’ football ticket was donated to teens and police, during the whole kneeling to recognize an important issue at hand, the fan had a great GREAT point.  Why did not the owner, use their assets, their stadiums to do one of the greatest PR events ever and to benefit the community – combine the parties that are at conflict but invest in the younger generations to reeducate and invest in solutions to the problems between police and soon to becoming adult generations?  I thought filling the seats of stadiums would bring an amazing positive effect to the controversy of killings, violence, and turmoil in communities, and guess who would be at the head of this, with an amazing community investment (and yes still making a profit?) The owners of every team.  This is one of the biggest missed opportunities owners ever had to counter and offer a solution to this issue, I loved the solution, and was so sad to see this was not acted upon by owners of every football team.

Fast forward to our educational summits.  With every technological, social trauma, educational, and leadership conference, you have the chance to act on the same thought process, let’s take topics that affect our communities and find ways to take the workshops, meet all educators on differing levels, positions, roles,  and walk away with tangible products we can implement to ignite new programs to meet the needs of our immediate populations.  This can help refocus the various government levels to understand the needs for funding and refocus on bettering the status of or educational system, AND to build a larger fan investment base in education, to pressure more and better changes for education, involving the NEA, the overall educational system, and have summits being more than ideas being generated but ideas being put into action at these summits!

Back to the Western Sussex Summit – Coming back to the states after six years, I refocused on the Socio-Emotional Needs of students in a school district, and this helped me realign the population and needs that were hovering about us as educators every day, and present in every students’ life.  This is so easy to forget in lieu of our own preparation and planning every day, one major theme of the summit itself.  

Before the keynote speakers, it was pretty informative to hear from Delaware Governor John Carney’s wife, Tracey Carney.    With her constant involvement in education, it was refreshing to see politics having a first-hand impact and response to the needs of students and education rather than a voice not familiar with local needs of what education is desperate for.  Dealing with ways to confront the hunger and homelessness issue in Delaware, it is again, refreshing to see someone involved in politics willing to be active in finding new alternatives to providing for these needs.

The keynote speakers, Kristin Souers and Pete Hall, authors of the book Fostering Resilient Learners,  were really important to setting the tone of the summit.  Normally, Key notes are maybe an hour?  This was a LONG key-note in ranging to about 3 1/2 hours, and when I saw that on the schedule I was like Nooooooo.   Okay I get it, we are educators, we are having a PD day and I mean come one 3 1/2 hours?  PAIN!  But in actuality, the overly bubbly attitude Kristin carried with her, helped fight that steady wall of educators of all positions fighting to be present on a PD day AND being early morning, and I felt that the keynotes were successful.  it is difficult to box in what the socio-economic trauma needs are, and for new teachers, there is an idea but the DEPTH of how this affects learners, and the effectiveness of educators on populations of students in a DRASTICALLY changing educational world (HECK, it has changed almost 100% percent sent I became involved in education in 1997! )  – the depth of info was needed – and despite being a pretty decent length of a key note, the importance of this mindset was pretty difficult to ignore. 

Much was broken down in that key-note, from the definition of Trauma, to the highly effective awareness of the ACES study, to the 4 I’s of Trauma Sensitive Approaches (Introducing, Ignorant, Informed, Invested) – Where is your school in these levels of measurement regarding Trauma? – 

ONE AWESome tool was receiving the hand model of the brain, from Daniel Siegel, to connect parenting and to the needs of children.  LOVE THIS!  Connecting the brain, the mind (different) and relationships, and he does it well!

All of these tools add to the overall considerations and tools educators need to fully meet students that are surrounded by trauma and recalibrate for success.

Workshops set in and whoa, a lot to choose from!     Brochure 2017emailvsn (1)

Two really stuck out to me, “Self-Care for Educators” by Debby Boyer and “I ain’t listening to You and I ain’t Learning From You! Engaging Boys in Education and Counseling” from Julius Mullen Sr. Ed. D., LPCMH, Julius Mullen Jr, Juwan Mullen.  

Without giving you every single scrap of info they presented, which I could, (and is a symbol of a god PD session when you can remember these aspects after a holiday!) – the main aspects that rose to the top –

I never realize enough how taking care of myself reflects back to the populations I need to serve and benefit as well, and this session by Debby Boyer helped do just that.  Recognizing the connection to Mindfulness from ASF as one, but a major technique, was one of many tools she emphasized in showing, how to recognize, organize, and departmentalize the priorities of taking care of you, personally, involved and tied to the educational field – crucial.

The second workshop (and I noticed the first workshop was packed!) was presented by the Mullen family, all of which I have come to know being in Seaford at Seaford High School.  I liked, before they spoke, the fact that their experiences, cemented the concepts as they lived in, as they grew from students, to a family, to experiences they currently had in education.  This made more of a statement to everyone before they even said anything.  Loved.  Their insights into what would and should be very basic guidelines, helped create an awareness of what students feel and need in any given day, and how those needs can be met without sacrificing the very things that make you, you as an educator.

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 12.47.55 PMI felt from the sessions and speakers present, in order to make the changes and challenges we are seeing needing addressed in our communities, we need to be proactive and make the necessary steps of how we implement what we obtain from workshops, summits, etc to climb the very mountains that can only be conquered by our very active steps t enacting what we can create as interventions.  This well-organized and thought out cry for how we need to intervene our students’ lives, with the organization of Dr. Michele Marinucci, Ms Kylie Cross, and the whole Student Services Staff,

helped bring vendors from the community such as Barnes & Noble, as well as over 6 other representatives of the community, emphasized the needs we need to breach, of those of community and our students’ needs.  I felt as if the power of the ideas and plans generated at summits would be the ultimate game changer if shown from the summits, how all attending members were going to bring these ideas to the reality inside, and outside our classrooms every day.

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Looking Back in Holidays that Create Holidays…

It has been a heck of a year, wow, and it is not over yet – and there has much to look back on, now and from the past to grimace, grin, and laugh about, also to shake your head about.  Before the year is over, I will post a standout moment I will always recall and remember from Mexico City as a lucky member of the ASF staff, as well as moments that bring people together in education that is one key to changing education as we know it, and a few more bits tucked in between.

For good and bad, it has been an amazing year, would love to hear your bits and pieces of what made 2017 an amazing year for you as well, send them on in so I can share them on my blog before a 2018 begins!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

I love this stitching together of one liners sent in last week too, just another way to show what is possible when all comes together –

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Miracles Occur in the Largest Places, the Smallest Places, in All Places.

Miracle on 34th Street“The world is held together by things you can’t see.”  – Miracle on 34th Street.

Location is a crazy thing.  Especially today.  With so many advances on traveling, location has become not an obstacle, except to the individual.  It is difficult for one to find their mind, heart, and experiences to be transferred to a different location when you find you mind, heart, and experiences settled in one area for a specific time.  Relocating these aspects is not always the easiest – but in seeing my first school production since leaving Mexico, and going to see Miracle on 34th Street at Woodbridge High, I was a little nervous.  I have always loved/preferred slipping in a production trying to be unnoticed and absorbing all that would be part of a student production, as if never seeing it before or knowing anything or anyone tied to the production.  Sometimes over several nights, to take in the full feeling of a production without anything else to occur.  On a very -not-used-to-the-winter-cold-evening, we head to see Miracle on 34th Street – the actual second show since last nights’ was cancelled due to the winter weather.

When I was sitting in the auditorium, I took in the feel around of all the families of the area, gathered together, catching conversations of winter traveling from productions, church gatherings, family get-togethers, and more, part of the warmth as you began to hear the musicians tune up is the smiles, nods, and conversations initiated with me, many who I do not even know but felt so at ease to give me recommendations on alternatives from services on local cable, internet, and phone options.  Finally, the recording comes on letting the audience know the show is about to begin.  it is highly comforting to see rows of familiar students fill the seats to see their friends on stage.

There is alot to take in for me on an individual scale having witnessed so many productions when the ASF Fine Arts Center opened for the first time in Mexico City, Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 7.13.38 AM(remember, before seats were installed where that folding chair collapsed from under me?!!!) – there were so many amazing memories ranging from Beauty and the Beast to the Radium Girls, slide shows of productions and the personal aspects that tied myself to each of those on stage, behind stage, in the booth, and more flashed through my mind as I began to see a story of a large town, represented by a small town, in keeping the real spirit of Christmas.

There is a TON of aspects to pull out of this second night production, none of the below being anything to miss:

The Macy’s scenery/toy props, Christmas extras were awesome and gave you the feel of a Christmas that comes to you.

Susan Walker, played by Alyssa Anthony, was a total standout.  From her first finger jerk to indicate where she lived, to her youth-like enthusiasm and believable energy seems to be an indication of looking for her in the future in to come productions.

Doris Walker played by Holly Todd, played the on top of everything individual, independent and built to be that way for her daughter to the T.  I found it just so earth shattering to always see her during the day as a member of the ROTC, and seeing her perform on stage and make a transformation slowly towards Christmas spirit.  

Fred Galley, played by Jacob Zanovic, did contain the right amount of self-confidence, pushing back and forth, and arguing between himself and others, he slowly becomes more and more in character as the production progresses.   His insistence and growing into a lawyer, along with a more self-style of awareness  of Doris, and his sincere connection with Susan Walker, is contagious.  Well Played Jacob!

Kris Kringle played by Steven Lord worked,  It worked well, Yes, part of the time you see Kris’ moustache dangling, his cap trialing behind (remnants of what you will remember in the film)  AND proving the point he is the real =Kris Kringle with having his beard pulled as a real test (lol), and seeing how he carried his Santa Claus image across stage when accused and on the defensive, as well as playing the enforces of all things holiday.  Betting on the role of Christmas and his ability to carry it out is felt even stronger as you near the conclusion of this magic story.

Marvin Shellhammer played by Alexander Strain, did his best survival role for Macy’s, from plastic alligators, to falling in line behind Mr. Macy, and Doris Walker, to being a doubter, to follower of Kris Kringle, to sometimes a klutz and persona of mishap, Alexander does manage to bring the attention from himself to Kris Kringle.  While some moments were hard to hear Alexander, he became more distinct as the production went on and represented a personality of his own.

R.H.Macy played by Kaleb Parson gets excitable, angry, mad, and nostalgic in the right places.  His insistence and representation of the icon of this production was well played, and his ability to transfer himself to many roles throughout is a small peek into the commitment all the cast played in so many diverse roles.

The cast as a whole – 

Malik Smith, Emily Harrington, Alexis Redden, Rachel Bolinger, Lea Wharton, David Miller (multiple roles as well), Adam Miller, Eric Kemske, Paul Deputy, Danielle Petit-Frere, Gerald Carroll, Gabriella Morra, Kaleb Parsons, Brian St. John, Genevieve Maddox, Areyanna Martin, Anya Gillespie, Sydney Weinkam, and Meghan Benedict

made sure they put their all into every scene, be it they way they smiled, changed in a variety of attire within minutes, to sending out the right body language to capture the highs and lows of many emotions of wonder and nostalgia, to representing a variety of musical scores, you received the absolute message of what this was all about, what the holiday spirit should  be, and does represent.  This was done so well, you tend to forget the specific lines and actions that help you have each individual on stage stand out.  With the proper enthusiasm and energy as the whole cast displayed, it is easy to see how successful this was due to the contributions of everyone as a whole cast.  Never once can anyone take for granted the magic of a small town, of a Christmas feel, of a place that exudes what Christmas should be all about. 

The Young Cast was G R E A T and amazing as well.  The Christmas spirit as represented by the cast chosen was very well done, and from the beginning seeing the parts of the Macy Parade, to actually sitting on Santa’s lap, to actually being called up to testify in court, they nailed anything you’d want to know or feel about the Christmas spirit.

Much of the success of a production also goes into what does not happen on the stage.  In this case, hearing the details that go into a very long preparation period, from students that would pass through the Media Center, to students who wanted to just talk about how late practices would need to go amid balancing research papers due, other assignments, as well as the time needed to detail out scenery right up t the very first night, I realized as a former stage crew hand how often even with the best planning every single minute leading up to the play is consumer, but worth discussing with others to show how committed, proud, and tied individuals in the production become to the process.   This was no exception.  Despite a cancellation due to bad weather Friday, the show must go on and it does. 

A highlight addition is the ability to have milk and cookies following December 17th’s production, and wow.  You need to see the lobby of the WHS – talk about a surprise view.  The view and ability to see the WHS decked out and spruced up for Christmas is amazing, AND being able to see Santa, have milk and cookies with Santa following? – It is magical and worth that as well, let alone the show.  Adding a portion to a production that gives back to the community in other ways to, for at least one show, is an amazing idea and could be tied to every post – show plan, but this is obviously perfect-timing with the holidays. 

Down to the program you receive (I love the feel of the program, crazy, right?!), care and meticulous attention to what the holidays should represent, despite what the world brings to your doorstep, is expressed and tended to.  That is a powerful feat to handle and put out when it comes to a tumultuous 2017 year.  Yet, the power of what individuals can do, the influence they can make, when called upon, is evident from a production, out on from the heart, such as A Miracle of 34th Street.  It is NOT a miracle that this production comes together for these shows and one last showing today, December 17th at 2 PM at Woodbridge High School, but is warming and still instills a belief in miracles when you are able to capture a bit of the holiday spirit thanks to this production.  That miracle still exists thanks to participants, ranging from the staff, families, and individuals that offered their time to allow this to occur.

Ms. Workman and Ms. Jones have done, again, a super job of making sure all within reach have something to share with another, take with them a piece, and hold close, what a holiday can mean to anyone, in any situation, with or without alot of “things” around the holiday. The cast reinforce the idea that the idea of a holiday, of a dream, is within everyone’s reach, that is what changes things, the idea within each of us, and those of us that can make a difference, realizing that dreaming and doing are in fact separate entities, and the action spurs on those that can’t until they are able to.  There is much potential in those possibilities, and you realize all of this in a classic tale of spirit in WHS’s Miracle on 34th Street.  

Location is a crazy thing, but powerful when it occurs in a small town, as well as in your mind, heart, and whole being.  Don’t miss the last show on December 17th to share in the magic of a classic production, and the opportunity to share this spirit afterwards with the classic icons and spirit in the lobby of WHS!

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The Starriest Wars On a Bone Chilling Night Strike Back…

True, I have grown up seeing Star Wars in the theatre and it is amazing to acknowledge how far Star Wars has come, with so many changes, so many landmarks, that make it a true space soap opera.  There is much to love: 

(This post is for you Paul Hebert!)

I love that old friends still remain present and do not disappear in The last Jedi and often show they remain with us and with the Star Wars story much longer than we’d expect .
I love the fact that the same discoveries that a young Luke make- we see Rey following in Luke’s footsteps.
I love the fact that just when you think you will see a sacrifice for the Rebellion being made – there is a last minute knee jerk change in plans – and it still surprises you.
I love the melodramatic scenes that still exist, against a blood red sunset, a bitter cold freezing plant that holds many surprises – that still remain from the first Star Wars I saw in a movie theatre and withstanding who owns the Star Wars series now, the same images and scenes exist.
I love the sacrifices that are made sometimes come at the hands of someone we JUST meet in the immediate film, and it makes us feel as we have known them all our life.

I love that some of the best advice and ways to get back on track come from our past, as well as our future.  Just when I was about to give up on Luke, there is renewed hope that shows why is a legend.

I like that you can look back at all the above, and see it can pertain to so many aspects of our own lives.  We can hide away, resign ourselves to failure and end a cycle of making an impact.  We can take the hurt, the pain, the disappointment and use it to mold not only ourselves but others to make an impact and change everything.  Sometimes when it feels as if we are just buying time, we are searching caverns, trees, pits, tombs, caves, and dungeons of our own until we find a nw definition of who we are and it launches us forward.  Being patient and calm through all of this makes the difference between returning to a new day and leaving the days behind.  

“We have all we need right here.”


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Hot – Coco is Hot – for many reasons…

OF COURSE COCOA is Hot, but when we are talking about the latest Disney film, Coco, yes, that is hot for many reasons as well.  From the beginning I had reservations until I did hear the behind the scenes testimony that took place in the streets of Mexico, to get it right.  Not to stereotype, not to discriminate, not to embellish what news articles portray as Mexico, and yet, I still had my doubts, fears, and anxieties of seeing my first film since returning to the states, and having it be portraying all that was Mexico, and freshly arriving from Mexico and finding a balance somewhere in between.  Yet, I was curious and hopeful that it would be something similar to The Book of Life, which I had no idea of until, ironically, I returned to the states, and fell upon during Dia de los Muertos, but stateside.  I fell in love with the tenets, the colors of the film The Book of Life and for an hour or so, memories of Patzcuaro, Day of the Dead, and things many people only might hear hints of about Mexico seeped through.  Would I be so lucky to feel that glimpse of what I felt from Coco?  I was willing to take the risk.  

It was the first snow I had seen in Delaware in six plus years, and the first snow, (minus Chicago which was THE first snow I had seen since actually moving back in six years in the states), and the first time I experienced the cold on the beach, in Delaware, and I have to tell you, I definitely lost my thick skin.  I recalled the image of those mornings, getting on the metro, seeing hundreds upon hundreds of people, going to work in the morning, dressed in winter wear from head to tow at the mention of 50 degree and had to smile . and realized in a warmth and winter level, no, I wasn’t in Mexico City anymore, lol.

As the day turned to the theatre in Rehoboth, I realized, this indeed was my first film in a theatre since departing from Mexico, and I truly felt it appropriate.  In being honest, in a professional way I was lucky to have slid into a job where I was able to make such a connection to the students so quickly, and maintain a connection in such a short time.  The same went for how organized and how much I knew I needed to jump into to change some elements of the library based on the excellent experience I had in a great library in Mexico City.   I felt I did not have the same luck personally in making this shift in how I felt in the attachments, the way I felt like celebrating, and the sounds, tastes, smells, and general feeling inside when I looked around.  It just was, is, has been a huge shift that is very slow in the making, so jumping in to so many things did/has/will have helped, but still only to a degree as I hoped for when I found myself face to face with a chance to experience what all those experiences felt like in Mexico.

Family – I was not to be disappointed.  Family.  I was not prepared for the familial elements that I found at every market, every corner, every store, every events I experienced in Mexico, to be in Coco. Yet, it was obvious as a theme, as a place-you-will-end-up-if-you-let-it feeling would emerge from the film as I felt in Mexico, yet sure enough it eeked out all over.  From characters that reverted back to how important family is despite the good and bad that happen in the wold, despite the elements of success one hopes to achieve through work, fame, talent, etc family still is present, despite anything, the sense of family lingers for all time, and Coco did that and more.

Music – Unreal.  The mariachi and the countless trips in Xochimilco, the brilliant celebrations that ooze into every pore, the art and honor in singing and the guitar, the trumpet, the violin, everything, it is all there.I realized one of the hardest and most difficult things in returning to the states has been the fact that silence greets me right outside my window, and the “noise” I was missing was the very sounds of the street, the instrumentals celebrating a holiday, a family act, a prominent change in one’s life, and so much more.  Coco surrounds you with this blanket of music that get across how much of a thread music is to all the elements that make each of us human, and spiritual, as the same time.   The individual characteristic/connection to the alebrijes, to Day of the Dead, to an individual, to a degree was lost on me until I was reminded of it in this film, and it goes to show, you carry a knowledge of something, sometimes without even realizing it, until a reminder comes at a time that is the right moment for you.  

Spanish – There was a small amount of Spanish disseminated out, not as much as I hoped/expected, but enough to attract and linger with even the vaguest of Mexican phrases that attach themselves to important symbols and meaning.  I loved the fact these attachments and bits of Spanish were in fact attached to the very references that dealt directly with familial images.  I never felt as much related to a culture as I did in Mexico, it took me by surprise how much family was expressed in a culture, and I doubt I will ever experience that in any country as much as I did in Mexico, that carries with you anywhere in the world as Coco went on to show.

Color – there is NOTHING, I mean nothing like you have ever seen when you are walking through the ofrendas of Day of the Dead and see the alebrijes and the ofrendas, the colors seem more surreal than anything you have ever seen.  Coco was a myriad of colors so deeply thick, I felt I could see hundreds of places I had travelled to in Mexico ten times over if i closed my eyes and I did not have to, Coco provided that to me.  I also felt these colors would not be as believable and bright in the film, had I not been to Mexico already.  The color and vividness of all color depicted  cals out to you just as the country of Mexico does when you are surrounded by it.

The ties that bind – there is undoubtedly the feeling you get, the feeling a movie can only do through tears, remorse, longing, and simply deep-down feeling you connect with when you have felt that before.  The thinking that went into a plot that captures the trickiness that comes with decisions that have to do with your life’s calling, your family, and all in between is readily available for you in Coco.  It is all there, and so much comes out, but I think my amazing opportunity to be a part of Mexican culture, being accepted and welcomed and appreciated, and being treated as family, and seeing it on the screen – depicted to ie the absolute real feeling Coco offers, it is easy to see the producers spent time in Mexico to capture this spirit you feel – in good times, times that test everyone around you, times that push you to your limits into the culture of Mexico itself and wraps itself around you – only a country devoted to family, devoted to the aspects you cannot buy, could such a connection occur.

Have I ever felt like this in the very country I was born, raised, and lived in most of my life?  I have to say, yes I have.  The asset of living in Mexico was to realize the depth of this feeling and how deep this connection can be, when I have often felt many times in the United States it is held back, restricted, and placed limits on.  I realized after living in Mexico for six years that the opportunities to be #1, be the top of a career or be above everyone else and climb any ladders other than a familial/cultural one, is one that wastes the richness that life has to offer.  That is a difficult realization when you have seen that all around you growing up and fed that level of success, until you feel and see it in a completely different culture, something totally different than you have ever known.

I felt that realization again in watching Coco, if only in the brief time that I was in the theatre, and that is priceless, something you cannot review, categorize, or paraphrase. You have to feel it and portray that every day for it to become a reality.  That is what is priceless about the feeling you get from Coco and experiencing it for real in Mexico! – the trick is to carry that in your heart and bring that out every day no matter where you are.  I have been in a VERY lucky position to fall into a host of friends in coming back that allowed me to feel that when i am around them, not something that comes easy, but was lucky enough to remain to me from when I lived in Delaware before, and now I have the chance to fight for the time and moments to let the depth of Mexico enhance those very moments on an even deeper level in returning.




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