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Teen Leadership II Learns the Art of Clowning

Olivia Hebert

Laughter spreads like wild fire in the room filled with white painted faces, animated eyes, and comical bright red lips, when Smiley the clown leads the group in magic tricks. Legacy and Summit Teen Leadership II classes join together for clown school to crack jokes for a cause. Project Happiness Heals is in progress. Students will soon have the opportunity to go to hospitals and be clowns for children.

“I feel privileged and honored that Schimmy [Mrs. Schimming] would let us do this. It’s a good project they should do every year. It’s a great way to spread joy to kids,” senior Nicole Wegienka said.

The first step to being a clown is getting an identity. Every clown has a name, a background, and a story.

“You have to have your clown eyes on so you can think like a clown. It’s hard and takes a long time,” junior Kaylee Wilson said.

“You see things different when you become a clown,” Smiley the Clown said. “You have clown eyes.”

According to Smiley, clowning doesn’t come easy for some people. Smiley had a friend who could make 104 different types of balloon animals, but they all looked like dogs. He saw a joke in an otherwise boring situation. If Smiley’s friend needed to make a helicopter balloon, he made a dog and wrote helicopter on it.

“I think it’s tough to be a clown. A lot of thought goes behind it,” Wilson said.

When the students first arrived they were taught magic tricks, and how to tell a good joke. At lunch, the students had to come up with their story, and explain how they became a clown. Then, they were taught the proper way to apply clown makeup. This may seem like the sole reason to go to clown school to any outsider, but those who experienced it would say other wise.

“I think clown school’s purpose is to teach us there’s a clown inside of all of us, and that all a clown is is someone who puts a smile on your face,” Wegienka said.

The Teen Leadership class soon learned that clowning wasn’t quite as easy as Smiley made it seem. There were some concerns, but with practice, the potential was endless.

“I’m afraid we’re going to scare them. I’m scared of clowns, so I’m terrified of myself. I think I will have a good time though because it’s for a good cause. I think they’ll be happy no matter what because we care enough to come see them,” Wegienka said.

According to Wegienka, Teen Leadership II develops character, and most students learn something from every project. Not only will they have the chance to impact a hospital patient’s day, but they will be able to take something away from this experience and apply it to their lives.

“I think the most important things I will learn from this are how to make people happy, how to tell a good joke and how to feel confident even when I look ridiculous,” Wegienka said.

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