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The Carnegie Hall Moment

Last Friday, I went to my first Trinity Talent Show.

It can be easy, in the day-to-day, to see a Talent Show for what it is on the surface – a few hours of fun, of laughing, of a change in school routine.

But as I watched our students perform acts ranging from ballet to “donkey noise demonstrations,” I was struck by a thought: for some, this was their Carnegie Hall moment. I’ll explain.

It started on Tuesday when I got an email from Katy Roybal, our Director of Educational Technology and Innovation. The subject line: “Top Secret Talent Show” (top secret because the Talent Show is for students only – no others allowed, to make performing as comfortable as possible.) I read the email, looked forward to the event, and moved on.

On Friday, the morning of the show, I took my seat near the stage around 10:25 am. There were 38 acts scheduled, total, with a predicted running time of about 95 minutes. I settled in.

I soon realized that I had forgotten the significance of a Talent Show experience. It was immersive. There were remote-control car demonstrations, piano players, violinists and harpists, athletes, magicians, a Python coding demonstration and more. There was talent on the stage, of course – but the passion and the budding confidence in each student touched me. This was all made possible by the work of the faculty, our Grade 5 organizers, and Katy Roybal in particular, who brilliantly aligned all of the variables to bring the show to life.

For some students, the memories of the Talent Show will fade away. They were proud when they finished – they were celebrated and congratulated. Each of them gained important experience performing publicly – which on its own is important. But for others, the moment that they walked onstage, surrounded by their peers, and overcame their fears to achieve a goal will stay with them. It was an instant when they took a huge risk in an elementary school spotlight, and won.

A bit like reaching a pivotal, aspirational career moment: like arriving at Carnegie Hall. It occurred to me that, for some of them, that moment will stick with them long after they can no longer hear the applause in their heads.

I enjoyed the Talent Show as much as I’ve enjoyed anything at Trinity School this year. It’s an honor and a privilege to observe these Carnegie Hall moments – and, to me, it amplifies the value we place on children at Trinity.


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