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Spreading Magic at Lawrence Heights Middle School and Havergal College

Magicana started 2014 with a special round of My Magic Hands in partnership with our friends at Havergal College and Lawrence Heights Middle School (LHMS).  James Alan led the charge, taking on 23 student magicians from LHMS, matched with 20 magic coaches from Havergal College.

Here is a guest blog from James Alan, as he reports the wonderful experience from a first-hand perspective:

Magic is a team effort. The more I perform, the more I realize that I never accomplish anything truly amazing by myself. It’s something I like being reminded of from time to time, as I was recently with the culmination of My Magic Hands at Lawrence Heights Middle School.

I just completed a seven-week program which ended with The Big Show; a presentation for a large group of younger students showcasing what they had learned. We had twenty-three young magicians performing, nearly twice the normal class size. Ordinarily a group of twelve-year-olds that size would be unmanageable.

What makes this program possible is a group of volunteers from nearby Havergal College. These volunteers travelled to Lawrence Heights every week to work with these students. In January and February, that meant travelling in the cold and snow. (Their commitment goes deeper than that. They are normally there helping with everyday homework without any magic involved.) The personalized attention makes a tremendous difference for each individual student’s ability to learn and also to create scripts and presentations tailored for them personally. Every magician in the program has a personal coach and sounding board to help push their practice to the next level.

Havergal also supplied our audience of grade three students for The Big Show. After working very hard with the staff at Havergal and Lawrence Heights to overcome some scheduling problems, we pulled off our performance to great success. In particular, I need to thank Claire Davis from Lawrence Heights for making it possible to travel off-site to Havergal College to give their performance.

Working with this group from week to week, I didn’t really appreciate the scope of the collaboration we were pulling off. It wasn’t until we we all together in the same room for The Big Show — the participants from Lawrence Heights, their teachers, the staff, audience and mentors from Havergal, and a little extra magic from Julie, the Executive Director of Magicana — that it finally hit me. Its a perfect of example of the magic that can happen when communities come together.

 

– James Alan

 

Making a Difference

Congratulations to My Magic Hands students at Valleyfield Junior Public School – led by instructor James Alan – who were featured on Global TV’s Making A Difference segment today.

We are so proud to have had so many individuals involved in our performing arts program, and for so many to have come away with new and important life skills including problem solving, critical thinking and logistical planning. Since the program’s inception in 2004, we have run 94 sessions in different centres throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) engaging 1,670 participants584 volunteers and interacting with 5,695 community members. The program continues today thanks to the generous support of our title sponsor, Slaight Communications.

Global TV’s Susan Hay stopped by to visit the Grade 4/5 class of 23 students at Valleyfield Junior Public School to see how these kids were doing. The news crew caught the children in their third of eight classes where they showcased a few of their new magic tricks, and spent a great deal of the lesson learning more.

We are looking forward to seeing these young people in their eight and final week where they will perform the Big Show for their classmates at school.

Keep up the great work Valleyfield – and thank you Global TV and Susan Hay for sharing wonder!