Valhalla’s The Legacy Project, a model for all schools

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Not only was it the last performance of the year, but also it was the last performance in the Valhalla High School Theater, as it will be replaced over summer break. And this performance was special. Students, teachers and staff all performed to help raise money for The Valhalla Legacy Project. This benefit was nothing short of remarkable and the talent at Valhalla is one to be reckoned with.

Not only was it the last performance of the year, but also it was the last performance in the Valhalla High School Theater, as it will be replaced over summer break. And this performance was special. Students, teachers and staff all performed to help raise money for The Valhalla Legacy Project. This benefit was nothing short of remarkable and the talent at Valhalla is one to be reckoned with.

Unlike most theater performances, this one filled the air with pride of school, love of teachers and students and a united cause. To create a space in the library for students that have nowhere to go after school hours.

The redesigning of an area in the library will be a place to go, provide a safe and productive environment along with the programs Advanced Placement Government student-led tutorials, a library film series, and purchasing new works of literature to what is considered already an impressive collection. An outgoing senior will sign all new purchased books through the Legacy Project, leaving behind inspirational thoughts and messages for future generations of Norsemen.

But let’s get back to the show.

Heading up the AP students is teacher Andrew Troi. His enthusiasm and commitment to his students and this project is unwavering, and this spotlight on school talent was the coup de gras with the show of support from the packed theater.

I saw some familiar faces from stories gone by. Austin Gatus, a gifted sax player, playing with Kenny G and other legendary jazz musicians played with the Jazz Band Ensemble, with my favorite being the theme to “Night Court.” He debuted his first album that evening, giving part of the proceeds to the Project, but what I noticed the most was that he put the sax down, picked up a guitar and sang one of his original songs from the album “Your Eyes.” His talent overflows as he later did a duet with Danielle Van Orden of “Something to Believe In” from “Newsies.”

Going back to Valhalla’s “Legally Blonde” performance, senior Anthony Vacio, now headed to CSU Fullerton, had a stellar performance in his Broadway performance, showing the colors of his acting/singing styles and also his popularity among the Valhalla Family.

“Uptown Funk” had the house rocking with teacher Jackie Naa, who is as hipster as any of her students and had everyone singing along. Teacher Paul Infantino also stole the spotlight for a piece of the evening with his rendition of OneRepublic’s “I Lived.”

These were just a few of many remarkable performances for the evening. But even better than the entertainment was the spirit in the theater that made this evening a success. And the vision of Troi and his students is one to be commended on the highest level. AP students are extremely busy ones and to take on such a project in the midst of senior year is something to applaud. And this new space, will truly serve as a legacy and the ones that follow in these footsteps will be the ones that not only continue it, but also make it better.

The goal for the Valhalla Legacy Project is $12,000. Donations can be made through Valhalla High School and I am sure that there are many students that would benefit from donations to such a worthy cause. And other students, teachers and staff at other schools in our region should take notice of this vision, and see it become reality. There are plenty of students that have nowhere to go after school, many of them from very good homes. It does not take living on the other side of the tracks to need a better environment to grow to your fullest potential. And projects like this help this growth one student at a time. Money is not the issue here, it is the future of the next generation of leaders and contributors to our communities.