What will Pasadena do With the Miracle in our Midst?
Last night I witnessed what I can only describe as a miraculous event. People were using the terms great, fantastic, incredible, and other phrases that did not come near describing the miracle that has been in play at Pasadena’s Wilson Middle School. For the last 30 years a campus security guard has worked with the youngsters at Wilson to develop a performing arts program, the likes of which I have never seen. And he has done so, after school, assisted by volunteers and working for free. This by itself is a miracle.
As a program director I’m aware of most of the issues that come with running music programs. I live in Pasadena and was not familiar with this performing arts program that most would consider one of the best in the country. How could that be? Could it be this program has not been presented as a Pasadena treasure because it goes against all conventional wisdom that requires certifi ed experts and huge budgets for performing arts programs? Could it be that we are faced with a security guard, who has dedicated his life to giving, who is able to inspire students, parents and volunteers, for over 30 years, for free? How could that possibly work?
What I witnessed last night defies comprehension on so many levels. The fi rst was the passion and dedication that has been instilled in these students. This security guard has organized middle school youngsters to perform at a high school level. The drum corps that performed the finale had a majority of girls, who performed with the discipline and precision of a college drum corp. But that was only one component of a program that has developed performance in music, theater, dance and all the other aspects of theater. This may be a little too much for the Educational establishment to accept; a successful program that is inspiring youngsters by the hundreds, developed and administered by a security guard. It just makes no sense!
The Wilson school is scheduled to be closed. This security guard is out of a job. And one of the greatest performing arts programs in the country is about to end. As various organizations presented certifi cates of thanks to the security guard for over 30 years of dedication, and the incalculable positive impact he has had on thousands of families, there was not one mention of plans to continue this miracle. I was moved by this humble security guard’s fi nal farewell, thanking God and the school for the opportunity to serve and give back. I am very interest to see how the Pasadena arts and educational community respond to the threat of losing this humble, African –American security guard who has created a miracle in our midst. By the way, his name is Marvin Hatchett.
Billy Mitchell SAPPA Founder/Director www.sappa.net
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