This I Believe

Kari - Willow Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Shiny Keys

For most people, going to school is something that you automatically do. You started going when you were in preschool, and you probably learned to just respect your teachers and follow directions. The important part was getting a good grade and, for a lot of students, when the class over. However, if you are lucky, you will get a teacher that makes you listen. A teacher that makes the class fun and can change the way you look at things. For me, this teacher was not one that I had in school, but was just as important as any teacher who was. I believe that one good teacher can change your life.

In the summer of 2002, the arts center in my neighborhood was putting on a musical like they did every summer, and I had been participating in this theater program for four years at that point. Though I was familiar with theater, I was not comfortable on stage or, as it seemed then, prepared to take on a character role that required me to become someone else. As I walked into the theater at the first rehearsal and sat down, the new director for the program stepped onto the stage. She looked each of us in the eye and said, clearly, “When you want to get a toddler’s attention, you find something shiny that makes noise. Like keys. So, for the rest of the summer, I am the shiny keys! Now let’s put on a show.” We all looked at each other, shrugged, and continued to pay attention to this person who seemed scary and overpowering in our eleven year old eyes.

As the years went on, our theater group continued to put on show after show, creating a second home and family. That same director has been working with us to this day, and every summer we still have to sit through the “shiny keys” speech. I learned more about acting than I’d ever expected going into it, because my director continues to push us to our full potential and has us take on roles that seem impossible from the start. She has faith in every one of us, something that not a lot of teachers actually do.

I would not be who I am today without this director. Had I not met her, I would still be the person I was as an eleven year old- too afraid to say a line or even walk on the stage. I would not have the dreams that I have today, and I would not have the passion for the stage that inspires me to pursue it as a career.

Because of one good teacher, though not an academic one, I am a different person. And because of this one good teacher, I aspire that one day, I will be the shiny keys.