I had an amazing 2013 - 2014 school year, with my book/school programs. I worked with schools in northern California all the way to southern California and many schools in between. This school year I worked with many different grades and different students. This what made this year special. I worked with disabled students, deaf students, special education students and "regular" ed students. I worked with schools that were wealthy, where students had Ipads and were filming me speaking to them. I have also worked in "low income" districts, where I was told to park (by school staff) because it would be the safest. There was a school in northern CA where a student was shot and killed the day before I was scheduled to come. They called and asked if I wanted to cancel or change the date. I said, absolutely NOT. This is when my program is needed the most. It was an emotional day that went great and changed lives!
I want to acknowledge Bakersfield School District (BCSD) this year because they are the first "District" to hire me to work with 11 of their schools. Usually a school's PTA, teacher or principal gets in touch with me, to book my assemblies. It was a big step to have a district believe in me and understand what I can bring to students and staff! Another special part of this year was being asked to come back to schools multiple times or do 2 day programs back to back, so that we could have smaller assemblies, making them more intimate and powerful. I saw students with tears, as well as, teachers and principals with tears. This is a great sign to me because it shows that we are affecting people below the surface. I am getting to the hearts and souls!
I did over 35 book / school programs this year and loved everyone of them. I hope to do more in the 2014 - 2015 school year. We are already starting to plan a few of them. I will also be going out of state for the first time when schools start back up next year. This is very exciting and I am looking forward to this new opportunity. My vision is to be global and have that kind of impact. People have asked me what my favorite moments were? This is an impossible question to answer. Every school had special moments. Now that I am thinking about it ... I can say that my favorite moments are the hugs that I get from so many students. Some of these hugs are so heart felt. They have been from pre-K to the "toughest" high school students.
In the next blog post I am going share some of my frustrations because I want to be fair and balanced. Not everything is always positive, but when I get to the students the negativity I had to endure was worth it every time. A first grader wrote me a letter this year that breaks my entire program down and reinforces why I do what I do. The letter said, "Mr. Poppen has big muscles and makes kids happy." l am still receiving letters from students and I read everyone of them and respond when I can. Sometimes I show up at their school to answer certain questions in person. I know how a "special moment" can affect a person and have an impact. I try and create these moments at all my assemblies. Thank you to everyone who supported my programs in any way. Thank you to all the schools, PTA'S, parents, teachers and administrations that trusted me with their kids. It was a pleasure and blessing on my side. I am looking forward to many more schools and moments in the next school year. I can always be reached for questions about my assemblies, books or regarding my availability..Thank you in advance for considering my programs.