Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Garcia Brothers Lighting Company

Anthony became the club's first lighting operator via a circuitous route. He was cast as the Prince in "Romeo and Juliet" in Year Three. However, instead of achieving accolades for his performance, young Anthony received the three dread xs and was asked to leave the club.

We met in my office for a private discussion.

Mel's office

"Anthony, I'm sorry to tell you this but you have succeeded at getting three xs. You know what that means, right?"

Three fat tears welled up and dripped down his cheeks.

I should have been home, where I belonged, reading a novel and eating those yummy chocolate square things.

"I get kicked out?" he asked in a scratchy voice.

"Kind of a rough way to put have to leave the club."

More tears joined their precursors on top of Anthony's folded hands.

"But I wanna stay...."

"Yeah, I know. I believe you do, but you knew the rule, right?"

"Yeah...but...I'm sorry, Ms. Ryane...but please...."

They have a buttercrunch center and the chocolate is the rich dark stuff.

"Anthony, would you like us to talk this over with your teacher?"

He nodded and swiped his hand across his eyes. We walked over to his classroom to meet up with Sydney, his fourth-grade teacher. The three of us sat in a triangle, facing each other.

"Anthony," I started, "do you know how you got those three xs?"


"Let's tell your teacher what happened."

"Well, I guess I was fooling around and stuff...."

"More than that, I think," I pressed.

"Anthony, why do you think Ms. Ryane has decided you have to leave the club? Think for a minute and tell me why," Sydney said.

"Well, I guess maybe I was sorta being a kinda bully maybe...."

"Anthony, I'm going to help you out: Yes, you bullied Jack. Plus you made rude gagging sounds over the snacks that a mother went to a lot of trouble to make for us and you wouldn't participate in the warm-ups."

"But, Ms.'s hard...."

"You didn't do any of these things just once, but repeatedly. Am I wrong about this?"

"No," he whispered.

"Anthony," I leaned in close, "neither your teacher nor I think you are a bad boy. We really don't, but you are acting like a bad boy and if we ignore that, we aren't doing our work and we're not helping you. When I look at you, Anthony, I see a really good boy inside."

Anthony was not allowed back into the club as an actor, but I offered him the position of our lighting operator. He did that beautifully for two years, and Sydney reported that his classroom behavior improved overnight.

His little brother Calvin will run our lights for Year Five. Sydney says we're building a dynasty: The Garcia Brothers Lighting Company.

We're building something, all right.

They're covered in roasted pistachios.

This year my 1 year of Shakespear was fun. I leard old words from the past. When I prefromed it was fun, When I got scared it seemed like I was going to die. I help by doing lights.
Thank you Ms. Ryan for givng me another chans.

SHAKESPEARE Ms. Ryan Rocks Rocks!
—Anthony, 4th grade (Year Three)

lighting board from Flickr user Original Meighan

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