Why We Presented “Wonder” at the Opera House

I think ‘bullying’ has been on many folks’ minds lately. I know it’s been on mine.

This week I watched the film “Wonder” on the Opera House screen along with fourth and fifth graders from Havre de Grace Elementary School. If you haven’t seen this film, I suggest you get it at HdG library and take a look. It tells the story of a fifth grader with a facial deformity and his first experience in school. The film looks at many aspects of bullying and the behavior’s impact on victim, perpetrator, and bystanders. Of course, it has a happy ending!

The film was introduced by Officer Teresa Adams of the HdG police department. After the film she led a discussion with the kids to help them bring home this issue to their own lives. Why do kids bully? How should they respond? It’s always so much fun to hear the kids of this generation. They seem to have no reluctance when it comes to participating and sharing their views. I respect the principal and the teachers and parents for that! It was a great discussion! Our children are very smart!

The biggest thrill for me, however, since I am a film lover, was to see how the kids watched and reacted to the film. They were keen to applaud the triumphs, laugh at the “in-jokes”, react to the “bad” behavior, dance to any music in the soundtrack, express disgust when characters kissed, but otherwise stay focused on what they were watching. I wish the filmmaker could have been there – they were a dream audience!

I love these children and I love the Opera House, where we share important stories through film, drama, dance and music.

—Jan Hirschfeld, volunteer Havre de Grace Arts Collective

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