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The moon a bright scimitar last night

o’er the Halloween creatures and town lights.

Dinghies and dredges await the dawn,

braided lines hold bows gently on moorings

lettered with draggers’ names,

culling boards all painted industrial grey,

and nets draped below like tatted lace,

clean still of eelgrass and eels and fish we can’t name.

Rubber boots and mitts ready to shuck

at morning light. Let the frigid sea splash and leak

down our shins and to our feet

splayed against the pitch and yaw

of the swell and salty chop-

rich harvest before us, fair wind at our backs.

Clark Myers is an active member of the poetry community on Martha’s Vineyard. He lives in Vineyard Haven.

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Ellie Bates, "Being a Poet" at The Unitarian Universalist Society.

Ellie Bates, poet and educator, read from her body of work at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday. —Photo by Michael Cummo

As the Sunday morning sun warmed the wooden pews inside the Unitarian Universalist Society’s intimate parish hall, local poet and educator Ellie Bates spoke to a rapt and responsive audience of her life’s long journey of “Being A Poet” and the experiences which inspired the poems she has “left as milestones in the continued search to get it right.”

At the opening of Sunday’s service, following her instinct as a schoolteacher, Ms. Bates spoke directly to the young members of the congregation. “What does poetry mean to you?” she asked. She was met with the poignant answers of young poets:

“You put the words down on paper just the way you feel.”

“Sometimes it’s just an experience.”

“Sometimes it’s funny.”

For Ms. Bates, the creative urge came early. “My own writing career began in Ms. Swanson’s first grade classroom,” she said. Then, the honor of being displayed on the class bulletin board validated the bourgeoning writer and set her on a path of both writing and teaching. After an education consisting of “the masters: Frost, Twain, Dickinson, and Steinbeck,” Ms. Bates marinated in the inspiration of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell. She landed her first teaching job in “an all black school in Boston, where I knew I had to give the students the voices of Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, and Langston Hughes… I wanted them to know, writing takes courage, but it also has  power.”

In her own poetry of the time, Ms. Bates dealt with themes of hope, renewal, and personal relationships. In one poem, she wrote: “Hope is not a thing of feathers/it is a rudder in the  strangest Sea….”

Ms. Bates developed a strong conviction of the link between cultural identity, personal empowerment, and the impetus to express one’s own story through the literary arts.  Identifying her own need to learn more about indigenous peoples and their rich oral  traditions, Ms. Bates took part in a teacher’s workshop with the Navajo and Hopi on their  reservations in the southwest, and earned a National Endowment for the Humanities  research grant to further pursue Native American studies at the University of Texas. She became active in The Boston Writing Project, and later, in local community and educational writing cooperatives such as Pathways Arts Project, The Cleveland House Poets, and The Martha’s Vineyard Poets Collective.

On the Island, as The Edgartown School’s Reading Coordinator, Ms. Bates enhanced the curriculum by designing creative literacy initiatives which used reading, writing, and dramatic arts to expand students’ understanding of archeology, oral history, and indigenous cross-cultural studies.

Ann Hollister, a colleague at Edgartown School and a longtime friend, gave the introduction at Sunday’s service, saying, “Ellie brought with her the ideal that reluctant readers needed a community to thrive, and specialists to assist. We wrote and worked together for years in this spirit.”

While Ms. Bates was busy creating experiential learning projects crossing disciplinary mediums for her students, she worked consistently over the years on her own creative development, combing through intimate themes of infertility and, later, parenthood. “That’s perhaps why the poems about my children are so dear to me,” she said. She shared her poem “Daughter Leaving,” reading: “Like mist on the lagoon/You rise/ Breaking free from the night…” The poem garnered collective “ahhs” from the Vineyard Haven audience.

The Island landscape and the imagery of nature plays a leading role in Ms. Bates’s work. From her poem “Attachments,” “Like the life in the ocean/ I trust symbiotic relations/ A balance of silent actions” to the poem “Tsaile” from her time in the southwest, “Where does the water go when it flows from the canyon?/ Here at Tsaile it forms the crossroads of my life,” Ms. Bates has used the language of the environment to express her own life’s quandaries and triumphs. “I had to get out of my sorrowful self and be with the beauty of nature –– the power of nature renewed my faith in the moment,” she said.

Though Ms. Bates is not a member of the Unitarian Universalist Society herself, worship coordinator Peter Palches enthusiastically welcomed her as a guest to the congregation. “Each of us through our thoughts and feelings needs to work out our own religion –– we look around, we talk to each other, we ask questions, but we attend to our own spiritual path,” Mr. Palches said. “This is at the heart of being a poet, and this is why we have asked Ellie to be with us today.”

While Ms. Bates often spoke with a tremble of emotion in her voice, it was when she recited her poetry that an unmistakable strength and steadiness shone through. Whether teaching literature or weaving words herself, Ms. Bates has followed what seems central to her purpose as a poet and educator. “I want to turn away from darkness and turn towards the light,” she said. “And embrace a community which helps me see that light, and to write poems and speak them, which may help to heal others.”

“Being a Poet” by Ellie Bates was part of the on-going series on ‘Creativity’ offered by The Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard. For more information, visit uusmv.org or call 508-693-8982.

Keya Guimarães is a documentary filmmaker and screenwriter and a new Times correspondent. She moved to Martha’s Vineyard a year ago from Kauai and lives with her family in Chilmark.

F. Charles “Chuck” Froelicher, of Denver, Colorado, and West Chop, an educator and conservationist who set an example of principal, integrity, and public service for all who knew him, died October 17, 2014, surrounded by his family in his Colorado home. He was 89.

A full obituary with service information will follow in a future edition of The Times.

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  • Among the Flowers 10% Off for Derby Anglers with Pin
  • Benito’s Derby Special: Men’s cut (haircut, hot lather neck shave, hot towel and neck massage). Only $16. Mention the display ad for the discount.
  • HomePort 20% Discount for Derby Pins at Back Door!
  • Island Inn Special Contractor Derby Rates
  • Lampost Half Off Entrees when you show your Derby Pin
  • Menemsha Fish Local Lobster Sale!
  • The Newes Pub Receive 10% Off Food when you show your Derby Pin
  • Wharf 10% off when you show your Button 20% off if you get a Daily Prize (must show dated award, present within 2 days of award)

To advertise your specials, call 508-693-6100 press 2.

Michael West discusses his new book and the importance of insects at Bunch of Grapes this week. —Photo by Michael Cummo

Bunch of Grapes Bookstore will host an author’s event at 7 pm on Friday, Oct. 3, featuring Michael West on his newest book “BUZZD: The Bee Kill Conspiracy.” The evening will include a local honey tasting and a discussion with local beekeeper and boutique honeymaker Monica Miller. According to a press release, “BUZZD tells the story of corporate greed, mercenary killing, and a new agricultural chemical that endangers the Island ecosystem. Afghan war vet and special-ops Marine Sam Hill uncovers the truth about the death of an EPA official, swarmed by killer bees. Sam finds a single loose thread and pulls on it until he unravels a national conspiracy that could threaten the entire planet.”  The talk, which will also center on the importance of insects in the ecosystem, is free and open to the public. For more information, call 508-693-2291 or visit bunchofgrapes.com.

Arlan-WiseIsland astrologer Arlan Wise shares her astrological forecasts with us each week on Mondays. This column is like a cosmic weather report. It is written for everyone based on the sign the moon is in that day and what the planets are doing. Don’t be confused by the signs. This is not like the usual Sun sign astrology columns you see. Go to www.arlanwise.com and click on How To Read this Column for a full explanation. To arrange a personal reading, phone her at 1-(508)-645-9292.

September is Virgo’s month. It’s a time to plan and get organized. We have been programmed to entering a higher grade as we begin the new school year in September. It works to continue that feeling and use the month to upgrade our lives.

It will be a calm month, except for a disruption when Pluto turns into direct motion on the day of the Autumnal Equinox. You’ll hit some bumpy water at that time.

Mercury starts a retrograde period on October 4. He will be retrograde until October 25. Use the days in September to make the big changes, buy the big-ticket items, and start new jobs and projects. You’ll be glad you did.

Monday, September 22 – Moon in Virgo. The Sun enters Libra at 10:29 pm. Summer is ending and you want to get ready for Fall. Pluto stops and turns around to go into direct motion. This is a powerful event and can bring eruptions of many kinds. Keep a low profile and watch your back. The day is too transitional to start anything but be sure to get tomorrow’s important work done.

Tuesday, September 23 – Moon in Virgo, VC 8:15 am. Clean up after any explosions, physical or emotional, that may have happened yesterday. Put away your summer toys and clothes and recycle what you haven’t used for a while. It’s a good time to bring things to a conclusion. Realize where you have come to the end of the line. It’s the dark of the moon. Create a “Summers over” ritual.

Wednesday, September 24 – Moon in Libra. Today’s new moon marks the real beginning of Fall. It’s a good day to rebalance your relationship and other areas of your life that seem out of whack. You have a good ability for negotiation and making peace. Venus rules Libra and she offers you vibrations of beauty and love on this day of her moon. She quickens your perceptions and intuitions and inspires you to produce a work of beauty.

Thursday, September 25 – Moon in Libra.  Bring the spirit of gentleness and calm into all you do today. You’ll be able to find compromises and win-win solutions with minimal effort on your part. Opportunities will come out of left field and they won’t be the ones you expected. Embrace the people in your life who give to you and show them how much you appreciate them.

Friday, September 26 – Moon in Libra, VC from 8:38 am until 10:29 am when it enters Scorpio.  Finish up negotiations you started earlier this week. You’ll feel the change of energy in the afternoon and will want to work on your own projects. You’ll feel less like pleasing people and more like moving your concerns to the top of the list of things to do. It’s a good evening to be alone and write in your journal and give yourself some breathing space.

Saturday, September 27 – Moon in Scorpio. This is a very fertile day when you can put in your Fall plantings. Plant bulbs in random places so that you get surprises in the Spring. Mercury slides into Scorpio to give your thoughts more depth. You’ll be interested in finding out the why things happen the way they happen. It’s a good day to do research.

Sunday, September 28 – Moon in Scorpio, VC from 4:31 pm until 6:50 pm when it enters Sagittarius. You may be too driven to rest so find something to do that grabs your concentration. It’s a serious day when you won’t put up with anyone’s foolishness. Curb the tendency to be in control, whether it’s over big issues or little ones like what to cook for dinner.

Arlan-WiseIsland astrologer Arlan Wise shares her astrological forecasts with us each week on Mondays. This column is like a cosmic weather report. It is written for everyone based on the sign the moon is in that day and what the planets are doing. Don’t be confused by the signs. This is not like the usual Sun sign astrology columns you see. Go towww.arlanwise.com and click onHow To Read this Column for a full explanation. To arrange a personal reading, phone her at 1-(508)-645-9292.

September is Virgo’s month. It’s a time to plan and get organized. We have been programmed to entering a higher grade as we begin the new school year in September. It works to continue that feeling and use the month to upgrade our lives.

It will be a calm month, except for a disruption when Pluto turns into direct motion on the day of the Autumnal Equinox. You’ll hit some bumpy water at that time.

Mercury starts a retrograde period on October 4. He will be retrograde until October 25. Use the days in September to make the big changes, buy the big-ticket items, and start new jobs and projects. You’ll be glad you did.

Monday, September 15 – Moon in Gemini. Take care of all the short tasks on your things to do list. You won’t have the concentration to stick to anything for too long. It will feel good to get up and out and do a number of errands instead of sitting in one place all day. Your mind is sharp. Have a meeting of a book group, writing class, or a brainstorming session at work.

Tuesday, September 16 – Moon VC Gemini, enters Cancer 11:24 am. Empty your inboxes in the morning. Answer all those people you’ve put aside to write to or call at another time; this is a good time to get it done. The afternoon has gentler energy when you’ll feel what to do, rather than think it. It will feel good to stay home at night and cook a satisfying dinner.

Wednesday, September 17 – Moon in Cancer. Use your gut feelings to alert you to what’s going on with the people around you. Be ready to offer tender loving care to those who are overwhelmed with emotions. Everyone will be sensitive to wounds caused by old relationships, ones which will reappear so that they can be healed. Plant berry bushes today.

Thursday, September 18 – Moon in Cancer, VC from 2:38 pm.  Use the morning hours to go over your investments and make changes if you feel it’s the right thing to do. Harvest your vegetables and go to the farm stands to buy fruits that are in season. Make jellies, jams, and preserve and freeze as much as you can. Check on the security of your home and office.

Friday, September 19 – Moon in Leo. Today and tomorrow are lucky days. Think only in positive terms and see how that improves your life. Thought is creative so be optimistic and see how the power of thought brings good things to you. Be generous towards others and give a big donation to a charity that helps children. Have an amorous evening.

Saturday, September 20 – Moon in Leo. Forget your worries and obligations and take the kids to a place where you can play and have fun. If you don’t have kids, borrow some from a friend. Take them to a matinee at the theater. Open your heart and love everyone you see. Create a special romantic time with your beloved. Make it one you’ll always remember.

Sunday, September 21 – Moon VC Leo, enters Virgo 11:54 am. Sleep late and enjoy lazing around in bed. You’ll feel like doing the chores once the moon changes sign. You’ll be organized and can zip through your list of things you planned to do this weekend. Mars and Neptune energize you tonight so you may have trouble sleeping if you let all kinds of ”what ifs…” run through your mind. Stay calm.

Lena the greyhound takes retirement seriously. (Photo Courtesy of Mary-Jean Miner).

Before we moved to Martha’s Vineyard, in 1991, we often boarded our Doberman in Falmouth at River Bend Farm Kennels while visiting friends on the Cape. When we moved to the Island, we again boarded Hilde there for extended trips. On learning that we now lived on the Vineyard, the owners of the kennel asked us to take flyers from Greyhound Friends, a rescue agency, to our vet, as they thought the Island would be a wonderful place for retired greyhounds.

When our Hilde died of old age, we immediately thought about adopting one of those retired racers.

Tesse tests the tide. (Courtesy of Mary-Jean Miner).
Tesse tests the tide. (Courtesy of Mary-Jean Miner).

Tres Grande Vitesse, called Tesse for short, came to live in Oak Bluffs in 1992 soon after we returned from a vacation in France. Named for the high speed trains there, Tesse was a 45-mph couch potato. She indeed loved being on Island, along with several others, whom she met soon after coming here. People who adopt greyhounds tend to seek each other out. Nine or ten families kept in touch, worked to end greyhound racing in Massachusetts, and often rode with their dogs in the Fourth of July parades in Edgartown. Ace, Ginger, Tesse, Windy, Oliver, Mint, and Sneaker all served as ambassadors for adoption, riding on a flatbed truck, each with a soft bed and a dish of water. The owners of River Bend came to the Ag Fair, bringing adoptable dogs. Although this is no longer an event at the fair, and River Bend is no longer fostering greyhounds, the adoption process continues with several other agencies in southern Massachusetts.

As pets, greyhounds are sweet, even-tempered, and good natured. They adapt readily to home life, even though they have most likely spent all their previous years in crate-like kennels. Turned out for brief exercise and runs, they were undemanding and never really had the opportunity to be puppies.

Lena the Greyhound has slowed down some since retiring from racing. (Photo by Kristofer Rabasca)
Lena the Greyhound has slowed down some since retiring from racing. (Photo by Kristofer Rabasca)

They learn very quickly and forget very little. At first, they may be timid and shy, as they adapt to the entirely strange environment you call home. My dogs always remained suspicious of strangers at first, but warmed to visitors eventually. They arrive totally trained to the leash, so they are readily controlled. We used to say the person holding the leash is in charge, even if that person is a small child – a supervised child, of course. In spite of their breeding as runners, they need no more exercise than other dogs. Being retired, they really appreciate nap time. If you want to keep yours off the sofa, teach him early and consistently that couch time must be spent on the dog bed.

My most recent adoption, Lena, learned right away to “wait” when someone was coming or going, as well as leave it,” which serves as a friendly form of “No!”

Being sighthounds as well as runners, greyhounds must always be kept on leash or fenced in. An opening door is an invitation to flight; the dog leaves at about 40 mph, paying no heed to direction or distractions. Because of this, they are not able to find their way home once they slow down or stop. Many are unable to learn “recall,” that is to come back at a signal. It took me four dogs to learn that training myself. Lena will come when called. Usually.

A gaggle of greyhounds gather before the Fourth of July parade. (Courtesy Mary-Jean Miner).
A gaggle of greyhounds gather before the Fourth of July parade. (Courtesy Mary-Jean Miner).

The adoption process is done with great care to be certain the new family understands the unique needs and habits of these dogs. Greyhound Friends, founded in 1983 by Louise Coleman, is our area’s largest agency. Louise has great experience in matching dogs to families, considering the dog’s personalities and ability to adapt. Some can live happily with children or cats, and most other dogs. Early on, most greyhounds were not kept past their racing days. Now, with many active agencies around the world, they, and we, are most fortunate to share their retirement years.

If you think you might have room in your home for one of these forever friends, contact Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton or Greyhound Rescue of New England in Menden online or by phone. The application process is precise, all consideration is given to providing a safe and loving home for each dog, as well as a totally loving companion for the adopting family. My current companion, Lena, and I would be happy to discuss any questions you may have.

In between Tesse and Lena, Rhody and Annie were my companions. It seems that having greyhounds as pets can form as a habit. I can’t imagine life without at least one, providing another heartbeat in my home.

For more information, contact Mary-Jean Miner at mjminer7@yahoo.com; 508-696-8589; or email adopt@greyhoundsrescuene.org.

 — courtesy Arlan Wise

Island astrologer Arlan Wise shares her astrological forecasts with us each week on Mondays. This column is like a cosmic weather report. It is written for everyone based on the sign the moon is in that day and what the planets are doing. Don’t be confused by the signs. This is not like the usual Sun sign astrology columns you see. Go towww.arlanwise.com and click onHow To Read this Column for a full explanation. To arrange a personal reading, phone her at 1-(508)-645-9292.

September is Virgo’s month. It’s a time to plan and get organized. We have been programmed to entering a higher grade as we begin the new school year in September. It works to continue that feeling and use the month to upgrade our lives.

It will be a calm month, except for a disruption when Pluto turns into direct motion on the day of the Autumnal Equinox. You’ll hit some bumpy water at that time.

Mercury starts a retrograde period on October 4. He will be retrograde until October 25. Use the days in September to make the big changes, buy the big-ticket items, and start new jobs and projects. You’ll be glad you did.

Monday, September 1 – Moon VC Scorpio, VC from 11:40 am until 1:17 pm when it enters Sagittarius. After some intense fretting over what didn’t go your way this summer, you’ll feel like getting outside and playing. You can work on your own projects in the morning and as the day goes on your spirits rise and you move into holiday mode. Take a walk in the dark tonight to see the stars and wonder about the universe.

Tuesday, September 2 – Moon in Sagittarius. You want to extend your holiday weekend and continue the party. It’s a good day to Skype, call, or email your friends who live in foreign countries. Make plans to take a trip to see some of them. Mercury enters Libra and he helps you negotiate compromises and balance your needs for work and play. He gives you soothing words to use when you want to get your way.

Wednesday, September 3 – Moon in Sagittarius, VC from 2:06 pm until 6:15 pm when it enters Capricorn. The Sun and Pluto dance in earth signs and show you where to place your feet so you can take the next step along your path. They squeeze you like a toothpaste tube and tell you what you need to leave behind. Think big when you look to the future.

Thursday, September 4 – Moon in Capricorn. You can work long hours with good concentration today. It’s a day when you will get a lot accomplished and do so in an orderly, efficient manner. Think about how you want to advance your career and make a schedule of what to do when. It’s a good day to look at real estate to lease or buy.

Friday, September 5 – Moon in Capricorn, VC from 11:08 am until 7:59 pm when it enters Aquarius. Start the day early and get the important work done before the moon goes void. After that it’s a good time to clean up your workspace and decide what to discard and what to put away. Venus enters Virgo and she loves to keep things orderly, organized, and useful.

Saturday, September 6 – Moon in Aquarius. This is the weekend to get involved in community projects. Volunteer where you can be of help. Shop for practical items that you need rather than want. Surf the Internet for interesting information and connect with friends on social media. Escape into your mind with science fiction books or movies.

Sunday, September 7 – Moon in Aquarius, VC from 1:19 pm until 7:47 pm when it enters Pisces. The calendar says today is Grandparents Day. Give yours something special, at least call them, or spend time with your grandchildren. It’s a good day for all kinds of therapy. The Sun and Chiron team up to offer you healing energy that you can use to help cure old wounds or help others with your insightful comments.

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A Movement Workshop for Island Schools.

Young dancers in a Yard program at West Tisbury Elementary. (Photo by Sofia Strempek) — Sofia Strempek

When some of the Island’s children return to school next month, they’ll find an additional “R” to the Three R’s – rhythm.

The 2013 camp Make Kids Dance was such a success that the Yard will be running dance programs in Island schools. (Photo by Sally Cohn)
The 2013 camp Make Kids Dance was such a success that the Yard will be running dance programs in Island schools. (Photo by Sally Cohn)

The Yard – Martha’s Vineyard’s premier proponent of dance – is introducing a program, “Making It,” into the curriculum of Island schools. Working with professional dance troupes from off-Island, kids will learn about movement and building choreography. Created by David White, The Yard’s Artistic and Executive Director, patterned after the Kids Make Dance Camp at The Yard, and administered by Jesse Keller (who teaches a similar workshop at the Y), it will be customized to fit the available time and needs of the participating schools.

While some may consider it frivolous to bring a movement workshop into the syllabi, the program is about much more than dance. Keller explains. “While (the students) definitely learn movement skills, this program is not meant to focus on teaching kids steps. It’s more about the kids’ creativity and how they can link movement to their everyday problem solving, life skills, literary skills, and things like that.”

She cites a week-long workshop they held at the high school in April. “We brought in David Parker and The Bang Group (from New York). They’re a tap and rhythm group but they also work a lot with props. We worked with the students on a piece that the (professional) group performed. They were in Velcro suits. Afterwards, we did our warm-up and split all the kids into teams. We gave them five pieces of different types of Velcro — suits that they could put on, Velcro-covered balls, things like that. The task was to, in a group, learn how to connect and disconnect these in three ways and in movement only.”

According to Keller, not only did the kids learn to work together creatively to accomplish the task and see the everyday objects in a different light, but kids who normally would not associate with each other laughed together and had fun. “They were working with kids that they probably wouldn’t be hanging out with at lunchtime,” Keller explains.

David White further elaborates, “We had kids who were on the autistic spectrum who had aides with them. In the case of those kids who were part of this process, the aides uniformly said that they had never seen their kids so immediately productive in that kind of situation – working in groups, socializing.”

“And the real beauty of it,” Keller adds, “was every single kid in the high school participated.”

Also, by bringing in pros like The Bang Group from New York, the Everett Company from Providence, Rhode Island, and H.T. Chen from Chinatown in New York, the programs expose students to artists who are making a living in their field – a boon to kids faced with career decisions.

After the April workshops (held at several Island schools), and the success of the summer camp, it wasn’t difficult to bring Island schools on board. The Yard already has Chilmark, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs Schools scheduled. “But,” says Keller, “we’re still having conversations with the (other) public schools, and the Charter School, figuring out what would work for them.” Some schools, like Edgartown, see it as fitting into their physical education curriculum, although it can be used to address particular subjects.

David White sees it as fitting into almost any area of the curriculum. He views movement as a potential science lab. “Dance is three things,” he explains, “Take one material thing, the body, take two immaterial things, space and time, and you mash them up. That’s a physics problem.” He also considers it a cultural lesson. “Chilmark School is looking to do an ancient China thing,” he relates, “And we’re bringing in H.T. Chen and his company from Chinatown.”

The program at Edgartown School will work with fifth and either seventh or eighth graders, one day a week, for one period, spread over ten week. Teachers will be consulted on a continuing basis throughout the program. “That’s where we’re gauging our success,” says Keller. “Being in very close contact with the teachers during the entire process.” They’ll be asked how it’s affecting their day, if they’re seeing changes in the students. If they’re seeing more focus. In addition, an in-depth questionnaire will be filled out by the teachers and principals at the end of the program.

During the April workshop, the physical education teacher asked the students to journal throughout the process and that helped shape the current program.

Ultimately, it’s fairly certain that every student will take away something from “Making It.” David White explains, “Movement and dance provides a different kind of creativity, a different kind of firing of neurons in the brain, that can stimulate all sorts of things in the intelligences and aptitudes of these kids in other areas.”

And it builds confidence. “It’s made so that every kid can succeed,” Keller says. “Every kid can do it.”