My friend Dan Garijo asked me how to get the word out about the upcoming Okemos High School Theater production of Les Miserables (unjust imprisonment the theme - one of my personal fears). He wondered if maybe could we give away some tickets on WMMQ? Yea, we can do that.
Garijo's son Nick is a Senior at Okemos High School and he started working on the set crew last year. When picking Nick up one day, he met the Theater Boosters President, Angie Bidstrup, who gave Garijo a tour of what the kids were doing. Then she asked if he knew anything about construction.
You could say that.
Garijo got his Civil Engineering degree at MSU and as owner of National Bridge, LLC, he fixes highway bridges all over the nation.
"Can you help?", asked Bidstrup.
Yep.
Garijo has been helping the kids build the sets and really enjoyed the time with his kid, as well as with the crew kids. He tells me the teens work really hard, with little or no credit, doing the behind-the-scenes work that makes a show all the more believable. He says he'll be impressed with the exceptional maturity level of the kids one minute, then amused at their 'kid-ness' the next.
It was also important to Garijo that Rod Poland get some kudos, too. Poland's daughter has a helluva voice and will be in the performance; as props manager, he's been putting in countless hours behind the scenes. Poland even took a week of paid vacation so he could put in 12 hour work-days on the set. Wow.
Sure, we're near the end of the school year, but maybe that gives you time to ponder if next year you might want to volunteer some time to share your skills and expertise -  construction or other skilled trades - and show the kids in your community that they matter. Just a thought.
You can get your tickets for the classic production, adapted for schools, via okemospresents.net.