On Wednesday, March 8th, our SLAM! and Band students took part in the Arts in Education Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education at the State House in Augusta. The following are student accounts of the trip.
At five in the morning, S.L.A.M.! and the band students packed up a bus with amps and posters, and we set off for Augusta! The bus ride itself was incredible; relaxing, and sociable. Everyone was extremely comfortable with each other and the atmosphere, for the most part was jovial.
The first stop on the trip was Orono. There we were given a tour of the school, and provided lunch. In addition to viewing various buildings, we were able to observe the gym, and get a look at what dorm life looked like.
After that we visited a high school , where our drama club was able to meet with the theatre students there. The kids there were incredibly welcoming and accepting. They were kind, and their work space was amazing. Their teacher led us through several fun and engaging skill building activities and icebreakers. They listened intently as we performed pieces from our play, and then they performed for us.
The following day was the Arts in Education Advocacy Day at the State House. As part of the day’s program, we were able to meet with our district representatives, Danny Martin and Troy Jackson, which was so cool. They were very kind to us and we were glad to speak with them.
There was a lot of people to meet (and photobomb with the Mona Lisa), which was exciting, and we fit in well.
Our own performance was well-received, and it was amazing to get the chance to really fall into a (at least semi-) relaxed state while performing in front of people.
But it was the other performances that blew me away. With the open mic session that was held, people were able to share their songs, poetry, or jokes. Many talked of things that was going on in their lives, and huge problems that were affecting everyone. One spoke of a sister who was far away and unable to be with her family. All of the poems and songs that were presented were incredible. Some of the poems were so powerful that I almost started crying.
There were two other performances, that were not part of the open mic segment. There was a dance and a play performed. The dance was gorgeous, very well done. The play was remarkable. It was performed by a group called Maine Inside Out, who are a group of people that have been incarcerated in the past, but have gotten out. Those performing the play did insanely well. Their message was clear, and powerful, and it was about people who were looked over for things that had happened to them, the way they looked, or things from their past. Things like having been incarcerated, the color of their skin, their religious and ethnic backgrounds, or the jobs they worked.
The whole experience was incredible, and being there, in a room full of strangers, it felt like we were part of a family reunion or something. The whole thing was amazing.
I loved presenting for S.L.A.M.! and sharing all that we have done, such as sharing our message at the S.L.A.M.! table and being interviewed for a podcast. The fact that we were able to spread our message and have people listen gave me a sense of confidence and achievement, the likes of which I have never experienced to such an extent. I am so proud of what my peers and I have done in S.L.A.M.! – Daley