In pure honesty, I actually didn’t know what to feel when our learning centers were wrapped up, when our eminent night was over. To other people, this event might have been a piece of cake because they love presenting speeches or love talking to people but to me, it was one of the most difficult and time-consuming things I’ve ever done. So it was only fair that I was feeling a mix of happiness and relief in the fact that it was over, and sadness that we would have to wait till next year to perform our speeches in front of all our parents.
In note of this as well as the face book group, I wasn’t alone. Many of the grade nines and tens were feeling the exactly same thing I was and posting all kinds of heart-touching and inspiring messages on face book. As much as I think they were pretty cheesy and sappy, I was glad for those posts and the encouragement the tens had for the nines next year.
HOW DID THE DAY GO?
7:20 I knew right from the morning that it was going to be a looooooong day. From early morning, people where bringing in their learning centers and food items, which usually consisted of bags and bags of objects they needed in order to set up their learning center. I think throughout the whole day, I walked around the school 20 times, and I’m not exaggerating at all on this matter.
3:15 After the bell rang for the end of block 4, I can’t remember anything than complete chaos. Everyone needed to claim desks for themselves, set up their learning centers on time, and the grade nines still had to finish their jobs that they signed up for.
5:30 I couldn’t even catch my breath until dinner, and as I was eating my food, I still didn’t have time to settle my thoughts. I was too busy stuffing my face with pasta because I needed to hurry back to my learning center to finish setting up.
6:30 I headed down to the welcome table and greeted the guests.
7:00 It was show time! I cleaned up the welcome table and went inside precisely at 7:00 to watch the speeches.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first listened to the speeches. I initially came into this TALONS program to improve my public speaking skills, because I do acknowledge that it is one of the weaker areas I need to work on. After doing, my own speech, I learned what it really means to have a good quality speech that entrances and captivates the audience. I mean, I loved watching the grade nine speeches a lot… ALL of them had this voice that talked about their eminent person in this passionate way I loved hearing. But no. The grade tens were on a whole different scale. I think I only realized after the speeches were over, what leap you can take in a matter of 365 days you’ve been in the TALONS classroom. ALL 27 speeches had this quality to them, the immeasurable respect they had for their eminent person, to be their eminent person was way greater than I could have ever imagined. I think, I know now why TALONS is TALONS. It is our own individuality to shine.
MY LEARNING CENTER!!
As a grade nine, I know for a fact that I only had half the pressure the grade tens had. However, that didn’t stop me from worrying. I was thinking constantly, what if nobody comes to my station, what if nobody likes my station, what if I didn’t know what to say… and all this what if’s were getting to it. But through some encouragement from the grade tens, I was ready to face eminent night and I’m glad I went through this experience.
In all, I think I talked to some 30 people, including parents, friends, younger next generation TALONS and teachers. Part of this reason was because I was lucky enough to get a locker bay.
Without any further introduction, this is my learning center:
Attached to the ceiling above, I had a piece of string that ran over my locker bay with different quotes of Helen Keller’s attached to clothespins. I printed my pictures at Costco with a glossy finish and made the quotes look pretty, hopefully to attract people to come look at my station. I also put a wall of quotes attached to one side of the locker bay station.
On the other wall, I put Helen Keller’s life story on a timeline. The timeline has major events in Keller’s life that transformed her into the eminent person we know of today. I specifically printed it out black and white, and wrote the events myself in cursive so it would look a bit more outdated like the era Keller lived in.
Next I had an interactive game set up for the people who came and visited my station. This was a way to enhance the sense of touch as people who are blind or deaf cannot see or hear things inside the box. I painted three boxes brown and put holes in them so they could place their hand inside. Inside the boxes were objects that felt strange by the touch, however once you looked at it, it was nothing too weird.
Inside box 1 were orbies, or what you could also know as vase fillers. They’re little things that grow into marble sized squishy balls once you leave them in water for 24 hours. Many people thought that they were peeled grapes, which I thought was strange.
Inside box 2 were pinecones. This was one a lot of people had trouble figuring out, which was a surprise to me because I thought this one would be the easiest to everyone.
Inside box 3 was a wig. This grossed a lot of people out because they would put their hand inside and think “ew!” it’s hair. But once I told them that it was a wig, they calmed down a bit.
Next was the trifold I made with a list of contributions society have developed for the blind and deaf people. This includes putting braille on basic buttons in elevators, crossing lights or paper bills. One thing I found out during research that I thought was really cool was vibrating alarm clocks. Since deaf people can’t hear the alarm clocks go off, these specially designed ones have a special device attached underneath your pillow so it vibrates your head when it’s time for you to wake up!
I also made two paper frames which I painted gold. One of the frames served as a portrait of Helen Keller with her picture, and a very shortened biography of her life. The other frame had a picture of Keller’s own writing, which I thought was super cool. She didn’t have the neatest writing and it looks sort of like block letters but it’s still her writing nether less and I thought it was interesting so I put it in a frame.
Last but not least was my braille poster. Using round cabinet stoppers, I wrote a few words in braille and gave them the braille alphabet so they could try guessing the words in braille. This wasn’t an activity I asked everyone to do since the people that did it had a hard time guessing the word.
Overall, I felt that my learning center was quite a success during Night of the Notables. I realize now that the interactive activities were more of a success than my poster boards, and this gave me some new ideas for the futures. After all, we grow from experience!
9:30 Clean up began. Than it ended. And as all the TALONS learners gathered in the room for a closing circle, I was glad that I chose TALONS to pursue my high school learning. I can’t even believe the amount I learned from my first interview post——————————– all the way to now.
THANK YOU TO ALL THE GRADE TENS, NINES, MS. MULDER, MR. JACKSON, MR. SALSIBURY, MS. DINGLE FOR EVERTHING. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.
A personal thank you to Helen Keller as well. You have really shaped the way for all blind and deaf people in my city, my country, my continent, my world. You are my eminent person.
Night of the Notables 2K17, I can’t wait for you to arrive.