As a math teacher for San Fernando Valley middle schoolers, Michele Szymanski has a lot of trouble motivating her kids.
"It's a challenge every day making math more interesting," she says. "They just don't care."
Szymanski (who, yes, is related and is my sister) teaches in the very active Humanities Academy at Walter Reed Middle School (where lots of movies and TV shows get filmed, and lots of star's children (and stars themselves) attend.
Walter Reed is known for mistakenly being shown in pictures at the Republican Convention during a McCain-Palin rally instead of Walter Reed Hospital. (Oooh, the principal was mad!) Kids of movie and TV stars go there now, and some of the children are on TV and movies (the son of the president in "Olympus as Fallen" goes to the school, for example.)
"Three's Company" John Ritter, "Beverly Hills, 910210" Brian Austin Green, jazz pianist David Silverman, "G-4" host Morgan Webb, adult film actress Christy Canyon, comic Adam Carolla, "The O.C."'s Rachel Bilson and many others are alum from the school.
Johnny Depp has attended the school's shows, and you've seen the school in "Accepted," "Transformers," "The Shaggy Dog," "Adventures of Shark Girl and Lava Girl," and TV shows like "Parks and Recreation" and "Head of the Class" (which was based on the Independent Honors Program at the school).
So, the normally exasperated teachers who usually have trouble getting the attention of their students, shocked the heck out of them a few years ago at the Talent Show (run by the students).
Szymanski rallied up now-retired history teacher Patti Eskander, science teacher Carmelita Enriquez, English teacher Tiffany Federico and Tech Academy math teacher Kate Mansfield and convinced them to don tutus and do a final number as ballerinas. (One of them, by the way, made a career as an internationally-known ballet dancer before becoming a teacher!)
This video was lost for a year on another site, where fans wrote in saying, "I watch this every morning to start my day because it makes me laugh!" Here it is again.
See how the students just started screaming when they saw their teachers perform. One of the students can be heard saying, "That's so cool!" and "I can't believe she's doing that?!" and "Gosh, she's usually so mean!"
The Walter Reed Talent Show is a big fundraiser for the Humanities program. It's only $10 (or $5 with a Reed ID). There's an art exhibit in the foyer of the auditorium by students and teachers too, it's on Friday, Oct. 24, and there's food trucks there beforehand, too, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The show is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and you can get tickets here: http://reedfoha.org
The school is at 4525 Irvine Ave. in Studio City.
Other local sites you MUST know about:
* Susan McMartin's Studio City Mom: http://susanmcmartin.com
* San Fernando Valley Media: http://sfvmedia.com/sfv/category/news/
* Friends of Humanities Academy: http://reedfoha.org
* Friends of Reed PTSA: http://www.reedms.com/ptsanew
* Ventura Boulevard Magazine: http://www.ourventurablvd.com
* Brian Sebastian's Movie Reviews & More: http://moviereviewsandmore.com