Swil Kanim was invited to speak to the Lincoln Options Elementary School in Olympia, WA.
Lincoln Options Elementary is an alternative school that developed the Options Program, which is a non-profit corporation established to help support the district-wide alternative elementary program. The Options Program is a program managed by a council of parents and teachers who are elected yearly. The program includes twelve classrooms with a total enrollment of about 300 students. It encourages active parent participation and offers an educational choice for families in the Olympia School District.
Swil Kanim was invited to come in to encourage and inspire the kids with a school assembly and afterwards several classroom visits.
The day began with the assembly that was also highly attended by the parents of the students. The assembly began with some students doing a presentation on projects they have been doing. The students presented a Power Point of their projects and then discussed each project. It was wonderful to see how calm the students were in their presentations. They were obviously very comfortable in front of their peers and comfortably speaking in public.
After their wonderful presentation, Swil Kanim was introduced. He began his presentation with the Tree Story that is about how a tree grew and lived its life serving others, how children played underneath the tree, and the children grew up and their children then played underneath the tree. The tree’s branches were used to hold a swing. The story goes on to tell how the tree fell after a powerful nor’easter wind. But the tree’s life continued after a man reached inside the tree and pulled out a violin.
Swil Kanim uses this story to illustrate not only the life of a tree, but also the life within each of us. It demonstrates that we must live our life using all of our skills, gifts and talents in every way possible.
Swil Kanim then played his violin for the kids and engaged them with his music, playing his own compositions. He explained to the kids that music helps you feel your feelings. He then demonstrated the feelings of happiness, sadness, anger and fear, all through a variety of songs.
The kids and parents were engaged in the entire presentation. After the assembly Swil Kanim visited several classrooms and discussed with the classes what they thought of the assembly and he taught them the Elements of Honor by asking them four questions; What happened? How did it make them feel? What did it mean to them? Did they make any decisions?
Answers that came up were:
· “I thought it was going to be a boring speaker making a long speech but I was wrong!”
· “I was flabbergasted”
· “I felt sad that the tree fell”
· “I felt scared when you played ‘Jaws’!”
· “I felt nervous when you played really badly!”
· “I decided to practice my keyboard more!”
· “I wish we could have this day all over again!”
· “I want to find my violin!”
· “I decided to look for my talent.”
After a full day of classroom visits, Swil Kanim ended the day by Honoring the wonderful person, Paulette Frisina, who had initially invited Swil Kanim to the school and lobbied for the school to be willing to allow him into their school and classrooms. He also Honored the Principal, Marcela Abadi, for her wonderful decision to become a Principal and help make Lincoln Elementary the outstanding school that it is. He presented them both with HonorCoins™ and acknowledged them both for their service to the community and to the kids.
This school, like a lot of alternative schools, has a very limited budget and had no funds available to pay Swil Kanim’s speaker fees. The Principal graciously paid out of her own pocket the travel costs it took to get Swil Kanim to Olympia.
Over 300 students, parents and teachers were served.
6 classroom visits, with each classroom having 20 – 30 students
Each classroom visit was approximately 25 – 30 minutes.
It was a long, happy day!