Nicholas Falconer

A final school drama as teens head into great unknown

FOR someone who cries at any halfway decent television ad my daughter's last ever school music and drama night was always going to be 10-tissue event.

Every school assembly I have ever attended has resulted in tears:  the sight of those gorgeous young kids all standing to attention and singing the national anthem just slams me right in the heart and the tear ducts.

Miss 16 is in Year 12 so the drama night was another in a long list of "lasts" which is more than enough to bring on the waterworks. I went in well prepared, with a wad of tissues in my handbag and a scarf around my shoulders.

What a night it was - I laughed, applauded, smiled and yes I cried because the talent on that stage was incredible.

I don't mean incredible for high school students, these guys delivered performances with such professionalism they could have charged us three times the ticket price.

As I watched these precious teens I tried to imagine what lay ahead for them ... would there be fame and fortune in a band or on the stage or would the musical instrument they loved so much now start gathering dust in the corner of their room as the thrills of adult life beckoned.

How would they cope with the turbulence that undoubtedly lay ahead of them; would any of them end up following  their dreams?

I don't know even half of these kids by name but I crossed my fingers and made a silent wish that all their dreams would come true. I hoped that the hard work and dedication they had put into these performances would teach them that determined effort and a passion for something does mean that dreams can come true.

It is easy to lump all teenagers into one big group and label them as lazy and self-centred but the 150 students who graced that stage (and the dozens who worked behind the scenes) defied those labels and made me confident that our future is safe in their hands.

I'd cried my way through at least six tissues by the time my daughter made it to the stage. Her appearance was brief but brilliant (yes, I'm allowed to say that). I saw her in a different light (no pun intended) as she delivered a dramatic piece that was controlled and strong and along with her fellow actors held the audience in the palm of their hands.

As the night continued I wondered about the kids whose parents couldn't or wouldn't spend the money on a musical instrument or lessons. I was curious to know if these kids who had been given the gift of music (and drama and dance) were better equipped to make it in the real world.

The next day I rang the school to thank the teachers who had also put their heart and soul into the night.

I raised my theory that kids who do music, dance or drama are better equipped for life and the teacher agreed that it was certainly an advantage but not one that all families could afford or understood.

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