Friday, August 28, 2009

Finding Old Dreams Still Alive

I was recently asked to be on the committee for my High School Reunion. (Bayless High School) The great thing is that my High School was quite small and most everyone knew everyone. Since it was so small and close knit, tracking down familiar faces wont be an arduous task. Social networks like Myspace and Facebook have made finding old friends easy. Which leads me to this story..

I found someone on one of these social network sites from my old High School, not from my graduating class, but someone who was a year behind me. His name is Joe Manno.
Now, I didn't actually know Joe very well back then, but I did know that he was involved in the "Dramatics" class the year after I graduated. I was a grizzled veteran of my High School "Dramatics" department and I was curious to see how this fresh crop of actors would fare on the stage, so I went back to see their first production which as was "Arsenic and Old Lace".
I recall that Joe Manno stole the evening with his portrayal of the playwright/Cop Officer O'Hara. It was satisfying to know that there was some real talent coming up behind me.

And now here it is, all these years later, the smell of the grease paint and the roar of the crowd still running through my system and here's that guy, Joe Manno, on my "New Friends" list. So, I posed the ever original question: "So what have you been doing?"
Well, it seems the "smell" and the "roar" didn't leave Joe's system either. Nope. He's done stand up comedy, appeared in films, won an Emmy for a Television show ("All In One") of which he wrote and starred in. He has also authored several books but more importantly, Joe changes lives. Yep.
Joe Manno, performs a powerful, empowering message in a comedic fun-filled show called "A Fighting Chance" to young people all over the world. His message carries home the fact that each person is unique. There is no one else in the world like you.
I find so much truth in Joe's message as I hunt down old high school friends and discover what they have become in the real world. I mean, back in the day, for all intents and purposes, we just seemed like a "group of kids" sitting in a classroom waiting for the bell to ring. But in actuality, each one of us had our own individual strengths, skills, gifts and talents. That 'group of kids' has now gone to use those gifts and carve out their own identity. And for some of us, our Dreams are still alive. Take a moment and watch this!

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