Students showcase a spectrum of opportunities

On Sunday April 6, children and adults gathered to put on the Spectrum Project, a talent show to highlight diversity.

The Spectrum Project, put on by many children throughout the Cedar Valley through UNI at the Gallagher Bluedorn in Sunday April 6, showcases diversity and gives kids a chance to embrace their learning disabilities. Children and adults alike are able to help connect the community through this opportunity.

“My sister (a student at UNI) has absolutely loved being a buddy to a Spectrum performer for the last three years. I hope people who are reading this and are planning on going to UNI will really think about being a buddy because it’s a life changing opportunity for not only the child, but for the college student as well,” senior Claire Sanderman said. 

Hannah Sanderman, sister to Claire and former CFHS student, uses the Spectrum Project to give back to the community and narrow in on her career choices as well.

“I have been a buddy for the past three years. A buddy, or college student, gets paired up with a performer, a kid every year. Being a buddy has been a constant in my college career, and I am so grateful to be a part of the amazing community that the Spectrum Project provides,” Hannah said.

By showcasing the different elements of the children involved in the Spectrum Project, the community was able to get a better sense of the message of joy and togetherness.

“My favorite part of the show is seeing all the kids’ excited and proud faces when they’re on stage. They just look so joyous—the audience can’t help but smile when watching them. I think the way they split each age range into different color groups (like red, yellow, green, etc.) is a very smart idea because then the kids feel comfortable with their groups because they’re surrounded by kids their own age,” Claire said. “As an audience member of the Spectrum Project for the past three years, I think each audience member takes away a feeling of hope and happiness because that is what the show continually shows through its skits, dances and songs.”

Hannah, while not in the audience, also credits the project with life lessons and happy memories.

“Being a part of the final show is one of my favorite parts of the spring semester. All of the preparation everyone in Spectrum Project puts in over the semester finally gets showcases to the community. Despite all of their challenges, these performers are such champions and really make the most out of life. Being part of the Spectrum Project has taught me to appreciate every good thing in my life, no matter how small.”

Whether or not someone is a part of the show or merely in the audience, Claire stresses the importance and impact it can have. There are many ways to get involved, one of which is through UNI and the many majors it offers.

“As an audience member of the Spectrum Project for the past three years, I think each audience member takes away a feeling of hope and happiness because that is what the show continually shows through its skits, dances and songs. I think the most enjoyable part for me was looking at parents’ faces while they’re seeing their child performing onstage. Their eyes are fixated on their child, and they just look so proud. This show is usually very emotional for parents because this show is one of the only times a year they get to see they’re child in an activity.”

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