Christ the Teacher students join the circus
— Five Cecil County girls recently had an experience of a lifetime when Circus of the Kids spent a week at Christ the Teacher Catholic School.
Charmaine and Jasmine Pasicolan from Elkton, Carissa Bolinski and Abby Sanders from Earleville, and Cassidy Blum from Warwick won roles in the programs presented May 13-15.
Representatives of the program introduced the 607 students to the various acrobatic programs, then had interested students audition to be in the weekend performances.
Jasmine, 13, performed “The Spanish Web.”
“It’s an aerial ballet,” she explained. “You climb up a rope and you perform different tricks.”
Jasmine loved the hand spinning part of her performance, especially after getting a tip to avoid getting dizzy.
“They taught us to look up at our hands,” she said.
Learning not to fall was Charmaine’s first goal in learning how to maneuver on silks hanging from the ceiling. In the performance, she worked several feet off the ground with only mats on the ground below.
“It was a little bit challenging at first, but now I have such upper body strength,” the 12-year-old said. “It also gave me a lot of confidence. I was really amazed I was able to do so much in just a week and a half.”
Sister Laverne King, principal of the school on Frazer Road, brought Circus of the Kids to Christ the Teacher figuring it would be a one-time event.
“But everyone is already asking me when we’ll do it again,” she said.
Circus of the Kids was at the school
for two weeks. After the school-wide introduction, performers spent a week operating an after-school camp where interested students learned more.
“There’s a lot we’ve learned from this experience,” King said. There’s talk of publicizing the circus and inviting the public to watch next time.
However, she said, that is secondary to what she saw as the greater value of the program.
“We thought the best part was the kids of different ages working together,” she said. Blum, 12, performed “The Triple Lira.” “It looks like three hula hoops,” she said of the equipment used. She and two other girls performed tricks and poses with “The Triple Lira.”
Bolinski, 13, found herself dangling from wrist and shoulder straps performing acrobatic maneuvers.
“I did a lot of moves,” she said of her performance that involved a lot of circu- lar motions and hitting various poses.
Sanders had to learn to roller skate for her performance.
“Now I’m really good,” the 8-year-old said.
For Bolinski, the hard part was getting used to the wrist and shoulder straps. She pointed to where a blister is healing on her wrist.
“And getting used to being lifted,” she added. “Even though it was painful it was fun – an adrenaline rush.”
The experience taught Bolinski about endurance and teamwork.
“It was hard at first ... physically and mentally,” she said. “You had to learn to rely on the other girls.”
She admitted that was a slow process at first.
“But by the end we were up in the ceiling,” she said. “It was really fun.”
Bolinski did not tell her mom how high the act would take her. However, her mom was impressed. “She was sobbing,” Bolinski said. King said she found Circus of the Kids in a search for something new and different for the 14-year-old school.
“I was looking for an activity different than we’ve ever done before; one that would develop skills such as selfconfidence and trust,” she said. “I talked to other principals (at schools that had done the program) and there was not one negative comment.”
She believes when the program returns there will be more interest.
“I think we’d have three times as many kids go out for it,” she said.
At least one student is already making suggestions. According to King, Sanders was campaigning for an animal act for the next Circus of the Kids.
“She wanted a lion so she could be thrown into a lion’s mouth,” she said. “She’s our daredevil.”
Abby Sanders, 8, strikes a pose with her coach, Jimmy Bray, who taught the Earleville girl how to roller skate.