Brooks’ arts program drives innovation and inspires

“Do you like to learn cool things?” asked juggler Jeremiah Johnston, throwing his diabolo into the sky. Children at William Brooks Elementary School gloated and elated in delight earlier this month as he not only dazzled his young audience but also began teaching them how to throw and catch the spinning yoyo with a string.

Parent Jaleh Naasz said she hopes Johnston’s antics inspire kids to imagine themselves performing in Spring Spotlight, the school’s upcoming talent show and the year’s only production.

“We have done the talent show in the past. We’ve had an artistic element in the past. This year I thought, let’s add an element of sustainability to the art, just to get them to think a little differently,” said Naasz, who served as the school‘s arts champion.

Naasz explained that Johnston demonstrates that there are many avenues for talent, remembering the night she and her family first saw her act. “We were shocked at how talented he was, so I thought he would be a great person to share with students to motivate them,” she said. “They don’t have to be a great singer already or be in a band. They can juggle; they can do different things.

The talent show, scheduled for May 13, will not only include student performances, but also an art exhibition, a garden show, a group performance and a DIY hat parade with hats made from of durable materials. Additionally, Naasz added a sustainability theme, encouraging children to incorporate a positive message into their projects and actions. “My personal goal is to get them excited and going through the creative process over the next two months,” Naasz said.

“I strongly believe that the performing arts help children gain confidence,” she continued. “In our community, many of our children participate in extracurricular sports or do well in their studies. Well, it captures kids who love the arts and are creative and do something different.

The only local school without stage or theater equipment, Brooks Elementary is at a disadvantage in offering performing arts programs. The show is free, but donations are encouraged to help fund more arts-based activities.

Students received art supplies donated by ReCreate to Rocklin and seed packets from Green Acres.

Kayleen C. Rice