It’s been two months since the last BIG VOICE update which focused on the myriad of challenges Mr. Huls’ and his choir students face in their efforts to artfully blend their many individual voices into one BIG VOICE. This effort serves as a powerful metaphor for both how we as individuals engage with our lives and how we as a society engage with our world. The central question being, “When do our personal interests serve us and when do they inhibit our ability to be a contribution to the greater good?”
This question is especially poignant to teenagers. As many of them have told us, one of their biggest challenges is not being able to see past their most immediate concerns and desires. For many of them, the elephant is its tail. This tunnel vision is of course not unique to teenage minds. At times, we can all relate to this way of being. I know I can.
Mr. Huls lives big. Hour after hour, day after day, month after month, he aspires to teach his students to strive beyond what they believe they can achieve. He is relentless in his determination not to give in to “good enough”. Though his curriculum is choral music, his unreasonable (and I mean this in the best way possible) persistence provides a profound life lesson to his students. What they are learning is that however tough the struggle, however impossible the goal may seem, if they stay in the “game”, if they persist, they will achieve the breakthroughs for which they strive.
We saw this persistence pay off earlier this week when Mr. Huls was happily surprised to be honored at Disney Hall with a Bravo Award. This award “recognizes teachers and schools for their innovation and excellence in arts education, honoring educators, who use the arts to revitalize teaching, enhance student achievement and foster self-esteem, teamwork and cross cultural communication and understanding.” In the thirty years that the Bravo Awards have been recognizing educators, this is the first time a teacher in the Santa Monica Malibu School District has received this award.
By good fortune, we were granted entry into Disney Hall so that we could capture these magical moments for BIG VOICE.
We could not be creating BIG VOICE without your generous support.
THANK YOU very much for being an instrumental part of this creative journey!