Last Prom, Last Spring Concert

I feel so lucky to be in high-school for this extra time…one more semester to go. I know kids often rebel at the idea of staying in school longer, thinking it’s a negative thing, worried that they’ll stick out as an older student, but I don’t agree. I think it’s a matter of attitude:  since I am so happy to be at school, the people around me are happy to have me there, regardless of my age. I can choose extra classes that interest me – I’m building life-long fitness habits in PE, exploring pottery, art, and cooking, singing in choirs, and taking a reasonable (for me) number of academics.

Going to school dances more often is a happy thing too. In April, I went to prom for the third time, with one of my very dear friends, and for the invitation, I surprised her with a life-sized goldfinch paper-sculpture. I put the sunny bird in a golden house amongst curly wood shavings, with a special poem attached: I hear the goldfinch and then I try / To imagine the world from a bird’s eye, / All through the evening, dance with aplomb, / Following dinner, let’s go to the prom! We joined a big group of choir/theater friends for dinner, and the whole evening was so fun and relaxed. I loved being at the Denver natural history museum for the dance – we even got to view some exhibits!

Prom asking 1Prom 2015 g

Best of all, being at school longer means there’s extra time for singing in the best groups imaginable (Madrigals and Festival Choir), plus more opportunities for my a capella quartet.  We sang My Girl (by Smokey Robinson) at the May concert; it’s such an upbeat, happy tune that we were smiling the whole time! Then tears – the seniors crying because it’s hard to move on from the intensity and friendship that builds through performing together; everyone feels it went by too fast – in the blink of an eye. I had that bittersweet lump-in-the-throat – I’ll be missing many friends – but I’m still looking forward to experiencing the energy and connection of choir for one more semester.

And finally, there’s the benefit of repetition –that’s a big deal because of my autism. This year, I retook World History- not because I had to, but because I wanted to get more out of the class. I especially wanted to understand more about WWII because all four of my grandparents were growing up in Europe when the Holocaust happened.  One thing I felt compelled to share with my class: an unbelievably beautiful and powerful choral piece called, Even When He Is Silent (by Kim André Arnesen). The text was found in a concentration camp:  I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining. / I believe in love, even when I feel it not. / I believe in God, even when He is silent.

Listening, I feel I’m floating to heaven, and at the same time, I want to cry. My heart is touched that something so beautiful can come out of such horror. The same is true of a play I performed in during middle school called, I Never Saw Another Butterfly (by Celeste Raspanti). It’s based on a collection of poems and writings by children interred at Theresienstadt, one of the horrible concentration camps. If you ever get a chance, try to see this play.

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