Soar from the Circus to the Future

Photo by Sierra VanSuch

Photo by Sierra VanSuch

As students continue their walk on the high wire through high school, most of them are working to successfully make it to the other side, the next chapter of their lives. Whether it be making a decision about how late to stay up studying or an exam, or where to attend college, students are constantly trying to make it to a higher level of success.

The average ODA student performs a balancing act daily with their sports, academics, and social lives. While students may think that their studies and activities are trivial to their success, they are creating a path to remarkable accomplishments.

Photo by Sierra Van Such

ODA students got a taste of the circus when they were visited by Nik Wallenda, Sarasota’s own world famous circus aerialist who spoke to the students about following their passions.

Wallenda’s speech was the kick off to a new partnership between ODA and The Circus Arts Conservatory, Sarasota’s own circus empire.

This partnership led to students, parents, and faculty working as ushers for performances, acting as guest Masters of Ceremonies, and student writers and photographers being invited to experience the show and meet performers behind-the-scenes.

Mateo Cristiani, box office manager for the Sarasota Circus show Fearless, and a 6th generation performer, discussed shared his perspective on the impact of seeing the circus.

“I think the circus has always been important, there’s nothing else that shows them [children and young adults] the ability for ordinary people to do extraordinary things,” continues Cristiani.

But what is extraordinary about the everyday routine of an ODA high school student?

Photo by Sierra Van Such

One can probably imagine the rush of adrenaline while performing for a live audience and the pressure that comes along with it. Circus performer, Anton Monastysky, who has been performing since the age of seven said, “I’m always nervous, everyday.”

Nerves can be overbearing when students think about the uncertainty of their future.  Discovering one’s passion gives people the ability overcome nervousness. Circus performers have found their passion and run with it all the way to the Big Top. Their dedication is what drives them and keeps them going in a career that is not always guaranteed.

As high school students, the journey to find this passion, is a circus of its own; pursuing new interests, exploring new ideas, and expanding one’s knowledge can be intimidating. However, a student’s path is carved out in this exploration.

With strong work ethic and persistence, success is inevitable.

Photo by Sierra Van Such

In the words of David Burlet, a 9th generation circus performer, “When you’re on the stage it is a result of what you practice and what you put [in].”

Students’ future paths can have rocky and risky moments, but these failures and moments of redirection do not define the outcome of careers.

David Burlet, French trickster/circus performer, imagined he would grow up to be a juggler, like the rest of his family. However, his loved ones encouraged him to pursue an act that was out of the ordinary. Burlet then began his career in plate spinning, which has taken him all over the world. He performs in front of live audiences and also on TV. Burlet branched out of his comfort zone in his early years which has lead him to success.

Most students may think that the many aspects of their day are ordinary. In fact, the lives ODA students lead are anything but ordinary; they are extraordinary too. The circus reminds us that people can do the “impossible.” While you may not be able to juggle six bowling pins, if you put your mind to a challenging task, you can succeed at anything.