A display of love

FAMILY JEWELS - Michelle Dayrit-Soliven () - February 5, 2012 - 12:00am

In whatever children do, they always elicit a special reaction from grownups. Their innocence is refreshing; their candor, mesmerizing.

These were the thoughts that ran in my head as I sprinted through the halls of RCBC Plaza like a mad woman in high-heeled wedges to make it to the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium to catch the performances of the children of Reach International School. Though I was a little late in coming due to an appointment in the other side of town, nothing could stop me from watching this very special show, which was staged over the recent holiday season. 

Emotions ran high as an appreciative audience remained glued to the vibrant stage. And as the children pranced around stage, the parents shed tears of joy, others held their bellies filled with laughter; but noticeably, just like their children, the audience was joyfully walking on sunshine!

That afternoon was memorable because Reach International School’s regular pupils and students with special needs shared the limelight together, performing their best, making sure that camaraderie ruled over them in delivering their message for the school’s 2011 Gaia program. Gaia, the Greek word for Mother Earth, was the theme of the program because children took their part in dramatizing their concern for the environment. 

“The school community has challenged itself annually to stage a program that is both entertaining and refreshing.  Now on its 16th production, Reach has surpassed its previous offerings with a show that is not only fun and unique but also socially relevant,” says Cynthia Tinsay-Gonzalez, the school administrator with a compassionate and ultra kind heart.

Cynthia adds, “Following a more emotional theme, Reach’s annual holiday season program has helped in the integration between its normal and special students.  What warmed the hearts of parents the most was that the production allowed all the kids, including those with special needs, to work together better.”

From the top of the auditorium’s balcony where I stood, I had an encompassing view of the children’s performances as they deliver their powerful message of saving Mother Nature through creative numbers of song and dance. That portion where they sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was spine-tingling with the kids wearing white costumes like happy angels dancing in mid-air.

I moved slowly through the aisles to find a seat. I saw the faces of Cynthia, sitting right beside her lovely mother Nena Tinsay. Cynthia’s husband and business partner, Lito Gonzalez, was all smiles, too. Isa, Cynthia’s daughter, was busy manning the technical needs of the production.

I also saw Maritess Bichara del Rosario, the artistic director and choreographer of the production, cuing the children as she lovingly moved her arms to guide them through. The children returned her love by responding enthusiastically as they confidently performed their numbers with energy, ease and grace.

Kudos, too, to Dolores Cheng for writing the script; Artmar Eusebio and Mirasol Merto for assisting in the choreography; Irene Supnet for production management; and Josel Reyes for creative and production design, technical and visual direction, and costume, light and sound design.

The Reach curriculum and teachers have inspired regular and special children to attain their maximum potential.  The parents are particularly proud of the people behind the smashing success of their children’s presentation.

It was a moving experience to witness the Gaia program fostering a special bond among children. It was a display of love that is pure and innocent. This integration brought out the best in all of them. While special kids don’t always adapt well to mainstream programs, the show has demonstrated that Reach’s method is effective.

Congratulations to all!

(Would love to hear from you at miladayjewels@yahoo.com.)

ARTMAR EUSEBIO AND MIRASOL MERTO CARLOS P CHILDREN CYNTHIA TINSAY-GONZALEZ DOLORES CHENG GAIA IRENE SUPNET JOSEL REYES REACH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SPECIAL
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