During the April break, I had the opportunity to travel to Amman, Jordan to visit the Stardust Academy. In 2011, the Randolph Academy partnered with the Stardust Academy to introduce a performing arts program for young children based on our Randolph Kids Program model.
Now in its third year, the Triple Threat® program has met with great success, not only in providing a creative outlet for children in Amman, but also in providing an amazing employment opportunity for our alumni. This year, I was able to attend the Stardust Academy's year-end musical production of Alice in Wonderland, directed by our alumni Ameilia Hironaka ('11) and Genna Giampaolo ('11). I was so impressed with the results of the program, and also the work of our grads. Amelia and Genna enjoyed their year there so much, they have also signed up to return to Amman for another year.
We'll be looking forward to a visit from the Stardust Academy's Lara Nasri Atalla to the Randolph Academy's Toronto location this August. Lara is not only the artistic director of Stardust, but she is also Amman's top casting director for feature film productions. Her projects have included Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, and the forthcoming directing debut of Jon Stewart (The Daily Show), Rosewater, and a new film by Canadian actor/director Paul Gross, Hyena Road.
My visits to Amman serve as a reminder that the arts are truly a universal language, and cultivating a passion for the arts gives us all a common place from which to express thoughts, concepts, emotions, which may otherwise defy translation. And I am once again reminded that, the arts are the perfect tool with which to empower children from all cultures with the life skills they need to succeed: teamwork, discipline, empathy, and confidence.