The Powerful Moments of We Can by Jesse Ruben
The best part of my job at zactv.com is being next to powerful moments on an almost daily basis. Today was no exception. École Puntledge Park Elementary and other schools in School District 71 run a program called I Can with students in grades 4 to 9. Each student devises their own goal to accomplish or area of study to research and actualizes it over the course of a few months. The individualized learning is creating unique teaching opportunities that are scalable to each student.
I’ve been an active sponsor of the I Can program for two years now. I speak at all of the participating schools in the Comox Valley before they begin each new session to motivate the kids and be a contact for them in the “real world.” Last year I had the good fortune to also be the Keynote speaker at the year end celebration where select projects were showcased and all the participants were celebrated. Being part of this project is an honour and an obvious thrill.
Several months ago Puntledge teacher Doug David was introduced to a song on You Tube that instantly amplified the energy at the school. All of the students learned the lyrics to the song and sang it before assemblies. Students were often heard humming the tune We Can by Jesse Ruben in the halls and around the playground for months. It didn’t take long before someone got the bright idea and courage to contact Jesse over Facebook and invite him to perform a concert at the school. Jesse flew in from Brooklyn, New York a few months later… yesterday.
Jesse came to the school to find out he had a cult following of sorts. He is a super hero in the eyes of the kids doing I Can projects. He’s their idea in a way and seeing him manifested in person was a serious trip for most of the kids.
Powerful moments happen every day but being at the right place at the right time is a privilege I’ve been given in my line of work. I’m not sure what was more of a thrill for me today – watching the kids explode with excitement when Jesse walked in the gymnasium or watching Jesse’s face as 450 kids sang his song back to him with conviction and the perfection that only comes with hundreds of playground rehearsals. I mean seriously, how many people write a song and then fly thousands of miles to have it sung to them by over 400 kids with fire in the eyes and love in their hearts? Epic, powerful moments. What a great day.
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