Shower (and Sleet) The People

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Penny Harvest FieldToday was the Penny Harvest Field Day for my school, and I, along with the principal, assistant principal, and 14 Penny Harvesters from my school, went to go check out the Penny Field in Rockerfeller Center. When I tell you that the sight was amazing, I’d truly be understating the experience. From my own understanding, this might be the first time students and coaches alike could visualize the impact that our collective monies could have in helping the less fortunate.

Though Mother Nature made the weather consciously frigid, and coincidentally the pennies we touched, it didn’t prevent us from enjoying the experience. We were able to post our Philanthropy Flag up in the pennies and actually hold them, too (some children took a few of the pennies while others flung them, but fortunately, it wasn’t any of our children). We also took tons of awesome pictures and found our school’s name field-side after a little trepidation about that. And while it only took a few minutes to take pictures, see the field, and check out the other colors of the other flags (which is part of another activity), I’m sure it will last a lifetime for all of them.

I also had to laugh because one of the helpers, whose name I recall, but won’t put on here, says, “Are you Jose Vilson?

yeeeesss …

“Oh just checking. I’m (name here) and I just wanted to let you know I read your blog.”

Laughter ensues. Random, random, random, but I love it nonetheless.

But of course, it only got better. After lunch, the assistant principal had a surprise for the students: The Top of the Rock! Yes, we went to the top of Rockerfeller Center. Of course, the kids’ emotions ranged anywhere from complete euphoria to queasy apprehension, but overall, it was positive, and the experience was even more positive for them. We learned about the History of Rockerfeller Center, went up 63 flights in 42 seconds on an elevator, and landed on the upper ridges of the building. Glass borders protected us from doing anything dumb (or the kids for that matter). After I informed them that, at that point, they were actually in a cloud, their eyes just grew so wide.

Of course, the most fun of the day came from the Target Interactive Breezeway. Essentially, it’s a room that lights up, and senses humans inside it, to the point where different color lights follow you around. It’s a little eerie but awesome nonetheless.

Can you believe some of these kids have never been out of a 10-block radius from their houses? Some of them have never seen the Rockerfeller Christmas Tree, Rockerfeller Center for that matter, have never been that far downtown, have never been in a cloud, and (just like the rest of us) have NEVER seen a Penny Harvest Field.

Then again, if you don’t shower the people, they might never know what water is …

jose, who went awry from what he wanted to write about today, but d’ah well …

Penny Harvest Gangsta

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonShower (and Sleet) The People

Comments 10

  1. Jackie

    What an outstanding experience for everyone. They’ll always remember their first time discovering a world that exists outside of their neighborhood. What a wonderful gift to be able to give to your students.

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  3. Bam

    Hey. Wow. I want to do the Target thing next time I come there so don’t forget. those pictures are amazing. You are living an awesome life Jose. Keep sharing it.
    Love you.

  4. Bam

    By the way I still owe you a trip to the Motown Museum. OMG I went and I have to take you. Damn near made me proud to live in Detroit. Reminded me that Dr. King first had his Dream here…

    Culture is such a turn on eh?

    I Digress.
    Toronto tomorrow.

    Call soon.

  5. Frumteacher

    Wow, what an amazing experience that must have been, both for your students and for you! Taking your students to a new environment is one of the most powerful learning experiences. Seeing the pile of pennies and realizing how hard they worked to be part of that achievement must have given their self-esteem a great boost.

  6. e

    look at you with your VIP pass!

    aw glad you could broaden your kids’ horizons. it always amazes me that people can grow up and never leave their neighborhood. *smh*

    e

    p.s. i prob would have kept a penny for myself too ;-)

  7. Muze

    what a lovely post. that penny field must have been amazing. makes you rethink the value of 1 cent, doesn’t it? anyhoo, first time visiting your blog. glad i came by. black men + positivity = very happy Muze. lol.

    hope all is well and keep reppin the afrospear right!

    -Muze

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    Jose

    Bam, I giggled at your comments. Honest.

    Frum, and everyone else, it was an awesome experience. I think it’s important for the kids to get that worldview. Some of them just don’t get their views expanded like that often. We need to infuse these type of experiences in their lives more often.

  9. LuzMaria

    Your kids have discovered a few things through their Penny Harvest experience:

    - they have learned to care about others
    - they committed themselves to this fundraising which is only a few weeks and they managed
    to excel
    - they were able to see all their hard work at Rockefeller Center – all the pennies which were
    collected in display
    - Rockefeller Center was a new experience for many of them who do not get the opportunity to
    explore the city
    - a teacher who is VIP

    As I have stated before, they are very lucky to have you Mr. V.

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