Sunday, February 7, 2010

Returning to High School for the I Live Here Projects

When I was in High school I was sure of three things.

1.People were assholes

2. All blond girls had perfect skin

3. Todd L, for sure, didn't want to be my boyfriend.

This and a steady diet of saltines and oranges, led curiously to my burgeoning interest in human rights. In attempt to propagate this, I would skip school and hang out in Kensington Market, pretending to be older than I was. I collected Greenpeace stickers and bought food for homeless people.

Even though everything totally sucked, there were a few things that were still OK about school. Like, the first day back from summer vacation, where you could wear your new clothes and hope that everything would be OK that year. The way in which the frost stuck to the baby hair on your cheekbones, melting when you opened your locker. Staying up all night, devouring a book that your teacher had recommended, that would make you feel less alone.

High school was a place in which you felt wide and revealed in its exhilarating highs and lows.

All of the above comes back, as I walk through the halls of Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute located in North Toronto. Michael Laidlaw, a teacher at Lawrence Park, had invited me. I had not seen him since I was 10, as he had been my grade-school classmate, so was rather surprised when he stood in front of me at a book signing in Toronto last year. Months later he wrote to me, saying that he would like to work with my book, I Live Here, in his classroom. Many more months later, he wrote to me announcing that he was going to have an evening to support I Live Here at his school.

I am utterly blown away by what Micheal, colleagues and students did last night. I know it was not easy. This group put together an evening with song, video, music and dance in support of I Live Here. The talent is pretty mind-blowing and shows a level of sophistication that can only be a result of study, talent and reflection. Most importantly, they did something. How many people can say they even tried?

Peirson Ross, a Graduate of Lawrence Park, played four beautiful songs about love and travel. He spoke with the thrill of reflection about his years at Lawrence Park. This guy has soul and is one of those talents that will warm many cold nights ahead.

It is terribly moving to have I Live Here be the recipient of all of this.

So: Here is my shout out and hug to each of you. I hope you all go forward with courage and will to never give up no matter how silly you think that big dream is.

Rob Mancini, Scott Morrison, Connor Whitworth, Ryan Hill, Taylor Dale, Stephanie Long, Deven Glover, Lily MacLoud, Caroline Murchie, Brigid Allemang, Nicole Correale, James Boudreau, Ben Sussina, Eric Smith, Babk Taghina, Ryan lamers, Christina Wolf, Georgina Coward, Mike Hetherington, Miles McCraw, Jackson Walker, Annie Clarke, mark Edwards, Sam Yoannou, Olivia Luyt,, Justin Manofo, Duncan O'Donnell, Rebecca Pegano, Lauren McDougall, Andrea Eksteins, Dinah Finkelstien, Melanie Fingold, Alex Coles, Sydney Milgrom, Isabel Ungar, Brodie Marks, Sonya Molyneux, Sophia Zekiros, Rachel Kurzter, Courtney Dart, Jessica Campbell, Lee Stein, Emma Boynton, Greg Giannakis, Linda Llio, Charlotte Ann, Emily Bonnell, Alex Kapo, Issac Rain, David Milliken. Drassinower, Amal Mohamed, Peirson Ross.

A very special thank you and massive hug to a wonderful teacher and risk-taker, Michael Laidlaw.

Thank you for listening and rising above it all. Thank you for lighting a little fire inside of me.
Check out
Peirson Ross. This man is a talent.