How has Canterbury helped your child become confident in the spotlight?

I don’t know about you, but one of the greatest aspects of the Canterbury experience that appealed to me as a prospective parent was the fact that my child would be given opportunities to grow as a public speaker. I can still remember coming to campus for an information session and listening to Burns Jones and Penny Summers describe the 8th grade sermons.

Anna Griffin (4th-Wesney) shines as Marty Moose in the 2014 Lower School Christmas Production, "A Holiday Moosical."

Anna Griffin (4th-Wesney) shines as Marty Moose in the 2014 Lower School Christmas Production, “A Holiday Moosical.”

I remember being so impressed that the majority of 8th graders actually CHOOSE a sermon over a more — I don’t know — introverted assignment like a research project. The former awkward middle schooler in me got butterflies just thinking about it.  But that’s the point, isn’t it? The 80’s were an awesome decade, but teach me how to public speak, they did not. In fact, it was not until college that I had a public speaking course. Now, at a school like Canterbury, kids are taught how to settle those butterflies and enjoy the opportunity to express their knowledge and creativity. So, naturally, at the information session all those years ago, the introvert in me reveled in the fact that my daughter would be  encouraged to speak with confidence in front of an audience. Sure enough, in Kindergarten, McKenna was asked to recite a poem in front of the entire chapel. In first grade, she performed in the Nativity play. In second grade, she read the Canterbury prayer before her Chapel Buddy, Cayley Pinson ’13, delivered her 8th grade sermon. In third grade, with Mr. McCollum’s guidance, McKenna played a role in the production of “Snew White,” even though she started the year unsure that she would try out for a role. Now, she is in 4th grade and more confident than ever.

Sawyer Cheek (K-Moore) sings his heart out.

Sawyer Cheek (K-Moore) sings his heart out.

So, how about you? I would love to hear about your child’s experiences and how Canterbury has helped to make the spotlight something to celebrate and enjoy rather than avoid. Send me an email if I may include your story along with others from around the school.

Teachers, you’re included, too. Is there a student who has made outstanding progress in public speaking or through the arts? I look forward to sharing your anecdotes in an upcoming post. Be on the lookout. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday break  to all of our readers!

by Andrea Crossley Spencer

Spencer_2014_073Andrea Crossley Spencer is a Canterbury parent to McKenna (4th-Hoover), a freelance writer, and a creative writing instructor in Canterbury’s After School Fine Arts program. Her favorite Canterbury tradition is Chapel Buddies. She loves hiking, chocolate peanut butter shakes and listening to all kinds of music, from Harry Connick, Jr. to David Gray.