I just finished directing six DIFFERENT casts of Wonka with 117 fifth through eighth graders. This was a life-changing experience for many of them. You see I follow the Randy Pausch theory of “brain-fake.” He states that you get students to learn something they really don’t think they are learning. Since I want every student to participate, or allow every student that wants to be on stage, be on stage, the students and parents think this is all about the show and performing. WRONG. It is about bonding, helping others, and taking risks. Students learn a lot about themselves and about other students in the school. Since Sunset Ridge is a small school of 297 students, many of the students have known each other since the age of three, eighty-five percent of the kindergarten class they start with, they will graduate with in eighth grade. This offers some wonderful experiences and some not so interesting history. But, by having the students work across grade levels it creates making friends outside their comfort group, which is my main goal. It expands their “friend base.” The other goal is taking risks and doing something you thought you could never do, perform, sing, and dance on stage. The memories of the show will last with students and parents forever. This IS why I teach, I create memories, friendships, and teach risk-taking.