About the MHS Glee Club concert

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I TEACH 5th grade, working with students at the doorstep of adolescence. It’s exciting to see children starting to evolve into unique adults. Yet there’s concern in seeing students starting to struggle with very grown-up issues that a few years ago, or even a few months ago, they weren’t physically developed enough to grasp.

One issue is the great inner-struggle between wanting to belong and being unique. Do I act like everyone else, in hopes that people will like who I’m pretending to be? Is potential popularity worth the false facade? Or do I be true to myself, at the risk no one will accept me? Is potential loneliness worth the authenticity? I, like most of humanity, haven’t fully figured this out yet. And in little moments between writing notes on the board, passing out papers, telling students to sit down for the umpteenth time, I see these growing individuals confront this great dilemma of the human existence. I’m worried for them, because the struggle is not going to get easier anytime soon.

Yet I found a glimmer of hope in an unexpected place — Marianas High School’s Rhythm ‘n Harmony Glee Club’s “Breathe: a Glee Concert,” performed Sunday evening at the Hyatt. The concert hints that with the human longing to fit in, that maybe, just maybe, there’s a place for everyone’s uniqueness. I’m sure at least a handful of the Glee Club members are on the bottom of the high school food chain (pretty much where I was). They were looking for a place to get away from the cool kids that made them miserable. So they joined the Glee Club. Who would have guessed, there’s at least a handful of cool kids that shared the same passion as the “uncool” kids. Together in the Glee Club, they sing in both musical harmony and a greater harmony of accepting others, and themselves, for who they are. That’s a beautiful thing.

No part of the concert illustrated the potential harmony of individuals better than the hip-hop dance group. Now three of the young ladies in the group undoubtedly have parents that stay up all night in anxiety every time their baby girls go out because, despite their tender age, they are already good at being sexy. But the real star of the group was quite the opposite. It was a chubby young man who was confidently “fabulous,” to put it delicately. And all the whole crowd cheered wildly over this outrageous collage of individuality. It was wonderful.

Now I only hope that in between lessons on indirect objects, PEMDAS, colonial America and mitosis, I can teach my students my best guess at being human — take a chance on being yourself. You’ll find people who love your uniqueness. And if that lesson gets lost among textbooks, testing, and adolescent drama, I hope the students figure it out on their own. Perhaps even at a high school Glee Club concert.

A local teacher

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