On January 24th, 2024, the Wheeler Opera House pulsed with excitement as students from across the Roaring Fork Valley gathered for the first-ever Student Matinee Program.
Aspen Country Day School (79 students, 3rd-5th grade), Carbondale Community School (65 students), Carbondale Middle School (94 6th graders), and Riverview School (41 students) collectively brought 314 students and teacher chaperones, all eager for a memorable experience.
Center stage was the dynamic Shaun Boothe, expertly weaving captivating biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Serena Williams, and more. The auditorium echoed with a closing challenge: become heroes by performing one small act of kindness. Shaun’s impact extended beyond the Wheeler as he visited Aspen Middle School, leaving an indelible mark on 200 students and teachers. The connection was palpable, with students pouring out their passions, interests, and talents to Shaun after the performance.
The final school outreach, on January 25th at Glenwood Springs Middle School, resonated with approximately 400 students and teachers. Shaun’s narratives sparked inspiration, leading the school to launch a “living your legacy” project. The enthusiasm was contagious, with students clamoring for pictures and autographs, some even asking Shaun to leave his mark on their shoes and hoodies.
Shaun’s visit left a profound impact, with students eager for his return to delve into more biographies. Looking ahead, the Wheeler Opera House envisions expanding its outreach program, fostering a continued connection between inspirational performers and Roaring Fork Valley schools. These moments of empowerment are not just events but stepping stones toward a future where the Wheeler continues to be a beacon of education, community, and positive change.