This is Tony Melendez. And he visited our school!
Some of you may have heard of Tony Melendez before. For those of you who haven't, allow me to introduce him as best I can. Tony Melendez was born without arms, because his mother is one of the many who took Thalidimide when she was pregnant. But did that stop him? Absolutely not! Tony has lived a more-than-full life as a musician- he plays the guitar with his feet! And he plays very very well! I should know- he played many songs for my students! He has a music company called Toe Jam, and he goes around giving inspirational concerts and speeches.
When we first entered the gym on Friday, I wasn't sure about having an assembly so early in the year. When Tony insisted that all students jump up out of their seats, throw their fists in the air, and whoop "yeeha!!" after each verse of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mount'n" I thought for sure that the whole thing would be a chaotic nightmare! what I hadn't expected was 600+ students grades 1 to 8 to be complete captivated and mesmorized by our guest. And when Tony began to speak his story, you could have heard a pin drop in that gymnasium- even the middle schoolers were engaged! Some students even had tears in their eyes.
What Tony did was show our students that they could do anything they set their minds on- even play a guitar and throw and catch a frisbee with their feet. He reminded them that it was never okay to settle for "I can't." This was by far the best assembly I have ever interrupted my class instructional time for. They learned more than I could ever teach them in that 30 minutes.
After the assembly I, of course, ran back to the classroom, got the kids on the bus, and then returned to the gym to snag a copy of one of his cds. If you're a fan of inspirational Christian music, you'll love Tony's music. The cd I picked was:
I also grabbed a copy of his book for my husband, who loves an inspirational read:
This was by far one of the highlights of my career- being given the privelage to meet this man in person and watch him perform and inspire!