Over Memorial Day weekend I had the great pleasure of being a guest artist at the 2012/2013 Fargo High School Improv Exhibition. I spent a wonderful day teaching 30 amazing high schoolers from three different schools and judging an evening competition between the teams. The whole experience was incredibly inspiring and completely reaffirmed my passion for improv and my absolute belief that it should be a staple in every classroom in the world.
These kids are not just great improvisors, but great people as well. They are brimming with creativity and confidence, yet are selfless and supportive of all of their peers. They play eagerly, joyfully, and fearlessly with one another (even kids from the rival high schools) on and off the stage, regardless of age, grade, gender, religion, wealth, height, weight, GPA, sexuality or physical disability. They fearlessly jump into unexpected situations and new challenges. The evening competition presented the kids with a format that was totally unfamiliar to most of them (one team had never even played any of the games before), and they dove right in and kicked some serious butt on that stage. I can also say quite confidently that these kids will kick some serious butt in life as well. And I think it has a lot to do with what they have learned through improv.
They see the infinite possibilities in world around them. They accept and embrace one another. They believe in and trust themselves and each other. They approach unexpected and unfamiliar situations with enthusiasm and an open mind. They work together (even - GASP - with rival schools) to create something far bigger and more wonderful than themselves individually. They enjoy the process as much or more than the prize at the end. They laugh at themselves and at life. They see ‘challenges’ and ‘disabilities‘ as ‘opportunities’. And they have learned so many more wonderful things that I do not have time or space to list to here.
The world needs more people like these inspiring high schoolers, and all people deserve to live their lives with the confidence, creativity, compassion and laughter that these kids do. Anyone who lives with the lessons of improv is ready to kick butt in life and realize all of their dreams. It was a joy to share my passion for improv with these kids, and see how their passion for improv has affected their lives in so many great ways. I am grateful to the organizers of the event and the wonderful students of North, South and Davies High Schools, for their hard work and joyous enthusiasm. It was truly and unforgettable weekend, and I hope to be able to come back in the near future and share the joy of improv with them all again.