‘Kindness is a super power’: Beatboxer shares message of love at Fort Atkinson school
Chesney Snow visits Luther Elementary
FORT ATKINSON, Wis. — A successful performer with ties to Wisconsin paid a visit to a Fort Atkinson elementary school Friday, spreading his message of kindness.
The virtue is already a focus at Luther Elementary School, which has a new Kindness Team made up of teachers and PTO members, along with a kindness board that allows students to choose missions such as “open a door for someone” and “give someone a compliment.”
It’s a lesson school officials say the students are picking up on, loud and clear. Principal Dave Geiger said the number of behavioral issues has already gone down.
“We have really good kids. Just to see them every day trying to be kind to others, helping others, makes you feel good,” Geiger said. “We’ve had kids raising money to help families in need, kids holding doors open and older kids helping younger kids. It’s been neat to see.”
On Friday, students heard that same message of kindness, only a bit amplified.
“It was nothing like what I expected,” fifth grader Braiden Wainwright said. “If you didn’t know what beatboxing was and you came in and saw him doing that, you’d probably be, like, ‘Woah!'”
Many of the other students were impressed, regardless, watching beatboxer, Broadway star and teaching artist Chesney Snow.
“I spend a great deal of life, part in the classroom with young kids and the other part touring the world,” Snow said.
For Snow, this kind of audience – students – is the most important.
“What I try to do is use arts through storytelling, beatboxing to empower them, to make them know they can be geniuses at something,” he said.
As one part of the workshop, Snow had the students “battle,” except they traded words and weapons for love, and whoever sent the most love came out on top.
“To me, kindness is a super power,” Snow said. “I totally think so. We just gotta give it.”
“It makes me inspired a lot,” Braiden said.
Snow knows how difficult things can be for children from when he was young and first made it to Platteville.
“I do it to pay it forward because somebody did that for me,” he said. “We didn’t really have a place to live when we came to Wisconsin.”
An agency that serves families dealing with domestic violence helped him out, setting him up for success.
“These people were so kind and so caring to us,” he said.
Now, he teaches students just how far their voices can take them.
“It’s a way for us to thrive and create harmony,” Snow said. “Exploring your voice is a way to heal yourself and heal others.”
“It was just a great experience,” Braiden said.
Snow now lives in New York and will soon head home to prepare for his next play.
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