“My experience was wonderful and unforgettable. I honestly admit if I hadn’t been given the experience to go to an opera, I don’t think I ever would have gone to one.” – Liz
“…This opportunity is really life changing. It let us experience something that is never offered. Students should be offered a chance like this every year. Thank you for a great experience.” – Gabriela
These are just a few comments from the 250 Booker High School students who recently experienced their first HD live opera performance, the Met’s “La Traviata”, at Hollywood 20 in Sarasota, which was covered by the Herald Tribune.
For those who thought they wouldn’t enjoy such a performance – a new interest was sparked! For the teachers, organizations and donors who are passionate about students experiencing the arts – it was no surprise. They knew it was just a matter of providing the opportunity.
This “virtual” cultural experience was made possible through EdExploreSRQ– an online resource for teachers to find community experiences for their students that align with state education benchmarks.
The Booker High experience with the Met is just one example of how exposure to new experiences and explorations can lead to newfound appreciation and a more educated perspective; encouraging students to engage in creative thinking and experience the diverse art forms in our community.
EdExploreSRQ has more than 125 educational explorations available through 28 organizations, providing engaging opportunities in art, science and history for our students. And to further inspire donor generosity in creating new explorations, as well as seed an endowment to maintain this online platform, TPF announced a $500,000 matching challenge for new or increased gifts for Exploration Grants to the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. Fundraising for the match will be over the next three years until June 30, 2014. Donors can pledge their gift online through the EdExploreSRQ website.
Michele Bluestone, a Booker High School teacher who wrote a thank you letter to Harry Leopold – a local philanthropist and opera buff who initiated the idea for high school students to have the opportunity to experience an opera – expressed her gratitude and said she knew what was important was that a seed had been planted. She said each student now has a more educated point of view and is more knowledgeable than they were a month ago.
Have you, or someone you know, experienced an EdExploration that ignited a “spark” or changed a perspective? We’d love to hear about it!