In kicking off our new Beyond the Classroom blog, it is only appropriate to write about Kevin Spencer, who was the first performer in the Wilson Center’s new Family Series. Presented at the Wilson Center on November 8, Spencer’s Theatre Of Illusion is one of the largest theatrical illusion productions in the world. In addition to performing his spellbinding stage illusions for millions of people in more than 19 countries, Kevin is also dedicated to traveling the world to offer workshops, such as his program Hocus Pocus, to individuals of all ages and abilities.
Thanks to the support of outreach sponsors Lynn Chappy and Moore Oil, we were incredibly fortunate to have Kevin as part of our most recent educational outreach programming at the Wilson Center. He arrived a day early so that he could work with Life Navigators, a Milwaukee group whose mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental and related disabilities. That afternoon, Kevin traveled to Wedgewood Park International School to lead workshops that focused on team building and increasing self-esteem and focus.
I knew from the first second I met Kevin that he was special. Prior to the start of Life Navigators workshop on the morning of November 7, he didn’t want to chat with staff, and he didn’t want to sit in his ‘green room’ and sip coffee. I observed as he walked straight to the room that would soon be his workshop to introduce himself and meet each and every person from Life Navigators. His enthusiasm and genuine interest were contagious. Soon, the room was smiling and laughing and wanting to do well for every magic trick he introduced us to.
Some people are born to be teachers. They have characteristics that can simply be put into two words—the “it factor.” Teaching others comes naturally to this individual, and students can sense their sincerity in a heartbeat. The love to lead and inspire is usually woven into some level of humor and/or entertainment factor. In observing the workshop, I could see that one of the world’s natural-born teachers is Kevin. Is he patient? Check. Able to connect with others? Check. Instills high self-esteem in his students? Check. Were the students challenged? Absolutely. All engaged? Every single one. Who says learning needs to be drill and practice? Oh, wait. There was plenty of practicing. You just didn’t realize it at the time. A good teacher makes you forget you are learning: “discovery” is the focus.
Kevin Spencer, you are magic!
— Christina Ratatori, Education Director
Note: Kevin recently announced he is leaving the stage to devote his life to education full-time. He travels the world teaching and uplifting all he comes in contact with.