The day started with eager smiles and anticipation of a day spent learning outside of our normal environment. The students, Mrrs. Hunter and I were on the brink of a day long writing adventure and instead of the dread that is normally associated with writing, the students embraced the assignment and were ready for the day to begin. We started our journey at the Auraria Campus and our first stop was St. Cajetan's Church located in the heart of the campus. The students entered the church in awe of the beauty of the architecture and their childish delight in discovering a new place. We explored for a few minutes and then Mrs. Hunter gave us the cue that we were to write for seven minutes. The students sat in various parts of the old church, some at tables, some in chairs and most of them on the stage which seemed fitting because they were getting ready to shine and exhibit their skills.
Destiny was the first to share and her words brought tears to both my and Mrs. Hunter's eyes as her words of faith and redemption lifted into the air and lifted our spirits. For a moment, we seemed to gently float on her words and drink in her message of faith and steadfastness. Slowly, others shared and it seemed like their words were inspired by the rounded steeple and short, crisp lines that reached gracefully towards the apex of the steeple.
We continued on and read the messages left on the sidewalk in chalk and then past a row of delightful victorian houses that had been turned into offices. The kids stopped by an old fountain and seemed drawn to it even though it was dry and no water had flowed in its bowl since probably the previous summer. I took this as a cue that we were meant to stay in this spot and drink in the sights and sounds. We sat down and started writing again as people walked by and wonder what we were doing. At first they thought the kids were just being kids but then they would observe them stop and then write for a period of time and then share their writing. The passerby's were amazed and surprised at the beautiful and profound messages of these young ones.
We continued on to downtown Denver to make our way to our final destination, The Old Spaghetti Factory. I felt privileged to be a part of this day and privy to the laughter and conversations of childhood. I loved watching the students as they found an impromptu playground, a cement art structure that begged to be discovered and played on. Peals of laughter hugged its straight corners as our class explored the maze and made up stories and games that must have filled the curves of this structure with their enchantment.
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When we arrived at The Old Spaghetti Factory, the kids sat down and had such wonderful interactions and conversations with one another. They had a real sit down meal in a beautiful old building that once housed cable cars. There were fascinated by the old trolley car that was still on it's original track and the old bed that had been turned into a booth. During the meal I was allowed glimpses of their into their young lives as I learned of loved ones lost and pets they cherished. Mrs. Hunter and I smiled and it felt like the depth of our souls had been touched by the beauty of these children and a magical day of writing. We had a great meal and it ended with an ice cream treat and plenty of good conversation and friendship. As we left, customers and wait staff commented on what a great bunch of students we had and it was truly genuine and not a contrived compliment because the students were genuinely wonderful and well behaved.
The bus took us back to Vista Peak and we stopped and plopped ourselves on the grass and reveled in the sunshine and the memories of the day. We once again wrote and then shared the stories. It was the perfect conclusion to the day and I wished that every day could look like this day. I later tried to describe the magic of the day to a friend but was at a loss to explain the joy and simplicity of the day and could only conclude with, there is beauty in education.