The New Year is a time to set intentions and celebrate new beginnings. Orlando REP’s Teaching Artists and Education Staff are doing just that for 2022. We asked ourselves, what are our wishes or intentions for our students this year? How might we describe these ideas in a few short words or even a statement that will help guide our teaching and program management? 

Here are a few the responses and ideas we wanted to share with you:

“My wish for my students for the new year is for them to be able to safely gather and find connection to one another, and also to find the words to vocalize their struggles and their hopes. I keep feeling like the end is in sight, but recovery from 2020-2021 will still be a long journey and my wish is for students to explore that recovery and come out stronger on the other side.” – Samantha Reser, Orlando Family Stage Teaching Artist 

“My wish for students this year is that whenever they enter any of Orlando Family Stageertory Theaters spaces, they are seen, heard, included, and represented.” Shonda Thurman, Curriculum Manager

“I have so many wishes for our students this year! I want them to have a space to gather safely in-person – to create, connect and explore their most authentic selves. I want them to engage in the struggle of learning something new and come out on the other side with more curiosity and an interest in knowing more. Most importantly, I want students to see and experience the power of telling stories on stage.” – Emily Freeman, Director of Community Partnerships

In a few words, Bethany Post, Orlando Family Stage Teaching Artist, said: “Friendship, Connection, and Self-Acceptance.

“My wish for students this year is that they each find their “spark”; that thing that brings them joy, happiness, and motivates them to press forward, regardless of the circumstances. I hope that in their process of discovery, they find the courage within, to not only find that passion, but share it with others.” – Stacie Perez, Director of Arts-Based Learning

In the new year, I hope my students have the chance to try something new without fear of judgement or failure. I hope they generate lots of questions, and I hope they are surrounded by people who listen.” – Sage Tokach, Orlando Family Stage Teaching Artist 

“My biggest wish for students next semester is for them to continue digging in their well of talent and find ways to grow in different areas!” – Arius West, Orlando Family Stage Teaching Artist 

“My wish for my students in the new year is that they find the trust and strength they need this year to know that they are capable. That they find the confidence to flourish in everything they do or attempt to do and learn from everything this year offers. I wish for my students to know that everyone is welcome in my classroom and that their wildest dreams are what make me want to be their teacher. I want this to be a year for them in which they explore, grow, and collaborate.” – Cory Kennedy, Orlando Family Stage Teaching Artist 

Whether we are wishing for students to gather safely in-person, celebrate their individual talents and voices, or surround them with people that will listen and honor their artistic and creative choices, we are thrilled to put these intentions in writing. At Orlando REP, we are so lucky to have Teaching Artists and Staff who spend time planning, facilitating, and reflecting with our students in meaningful ways. We want each Orlando Family Stage program, show, and interaction to feel impactful. 

These are our wishes for the New Year, what are yours?

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