P.O. Box 293
Paola, KS 66071
Randy Kazandy visits Canandaigua School
By Judith Gates, WP News Service
I could feel the excitement in the air as I walked through the doors of the Canandaigua Elementary School with Giovanna Dibble, (Miss Dibble in the story)the mother of today’s author. Rhonda Fischer, award-winning author of the beautifully illustrated and hugely successful children's book, Randy Kazandy Where Are Your Glasses? was soon about to read the story in person, backed up by a huge screen which magnified the story in the auditorium. At this time the children were still in their classrooms waiting for the magical time to come so they could meet the author Rhonda Fischer. The children were already involved by making their very own zany glasses to wear at this event. They also were excited knowing that two of their classmates are in the book. Rhonda's nephews, Lucas' face and his brother Quinten's red hair were used to draw Randy Kazandy. Being part of something so big has made them feel like the shining stars.
I could feel the energy in the school. The teachers in the halls were talking with one another about how exciting this was and also sharing how excited their students have been.
As we entered, the warmth of the auditorium filled the air and its enchanting welcome wrapped around me. I knew I'd never forget this room from the past and the memories of the most wonderful event that was taking place here today. The seats were red velvet, and there was a beautiful masterpiece of a chandelier embedded in the ceiling above. Its twinkle and shimmering light was like the sun bursting through the clouds. The stage, the curtains and a beautiful nine foot grand piano to fill the area with music, was now going to be a part of Randy Kazandy Where Are Your Glasses? forever in the memories of all the children before us.
Six newspaper reporters were there interviewing Rhonda Fischer when the children started coming in. Now the time was finally here. Not only was the well known author at the school, but their energy soared to a higher level when Rhonda shared with the children that she was born and raised in Canandaigua NY, and sat in the very seats that they were sitting in now. Excited smiles were adorning the faces of the wee ones. The decorated and beautiful glasses that the children wore during the assembly illumined the room. When Lucas and Quinten came in, the other reporters were asking them questions. Some of their classmates were asking Luke if they could have his autograph.
When Rhonda spoke to the children in her special way, they were awed by her presence. She has the ability to let shine a beauty from inside her that captivates you, lifting your mind and spirit to a higher realm. With the children, she can magnify them and kiss their souls with her heavenly touch as her fingers started tickling the ivorys. Karen Jacque (President) on the triangle, with Lucas and Quinten dancing up and down the isle to the music with maracas and bells made a splash. Then Rhonda asked the children if they wanted to see their teachers dance. They yelled out yes and jumped up and down and started laughing. So Rhonda said in her microphone. All teachers up! You are now going to dance for your students. Rhonda played Maple Leaf Rag while the teachers marched up and down the auditorium holding on to each others waists. The students loved it while bubbles filled the empty space. Their eyes were as big as silver dollars as they smiled and raved when they saw that their teachers were having such a wonderful time. I felt the room shake, and it was atomic!
The children loved learning the theme song to Randy Kazandy and also learned that Randy Kazandy has a motto: "I love being me." The children were singing loud and strong. Now the story starts in an auditorium filled to the brim with excited children, yet when the story begins they are silent and still as the night. Not much sound, hardly a peep can be heard, just little giggles soft and sweet as the story unfolds. They were getting to know Randy Kazandy. It was easy to see they loved what they heard and saw. The crowds of children were mesmerized the entire time they were being read the story.
Ms. Fischer shared with the children, if someone says that you have too many freckles, doesn't like your hair, or you are being teased about anything, to remember what Randy Kazandy says, "I love being me." They loved this part and by following her instruction, hugged themselves as their little voices rang out like crystal bells, "I love being me." This was repeated by Ms. Fischer a number of times using different situations. This idea sparked something within the children, they will remember to love who they are, glasses, freckles, curly hair, whatever makes them different, they will say, "I love being me." I noticed several teachers tearing up. then Rhonda pulls out a big mirror and said "I need a helper." All thousand students raised their hand. She picked one out of the crowd and introduced her. Then she said look into the mirror and pick out all the things you see that you love about yourself. The little girl said my hair, my eyes, my ears, my nose. Rhonda said every day when you look into the mirror find at least one thing that love. And do it everyday. She got eye to eye with the little girl and said " I love you just the way you are." The girl gave Rhonda a big huge and it was priceless.
Ms. Fischer went into the audience to talk with various children after reading and singing with them the theme song, Randy Kazandy Time. One little girl was in the aisle while Rhonda was leaning over talking to some of the children. The precious little girl was holding out her hand trying to get Rhonda's attention, she was so small, Rhonda did not see her, a couple of minutes passed and that wee-one just kept her hand out waiting. I asked her, "You really want to shake the author's hand don't you?"
The little doll said, "Ohhhh, yes I dooo." I got Rhonda's attention for this little girl. Her name is Debra and she is in the first grade.
The time was coming for the visit to be over, that did not stop the energy from flowing or cause the excitement to die down. Some of the teacher's realized the author Rhonda was their very own classmate that they graduated with. Hugs and old memories filled the air, the love of the book added new memories that will last a lifetime.
Just know, as I sat and watched, the precious children felt and returned real love. I feel rewarded to have been a part of something that was so good for the children. They learned the importance of valuing themselves, through Randy Kazandy's motto, "I love being me." This is something we all need to be reminded of occasionally. We all need focus on "I love being me," more in this world, young and old. As Ms Fischer told the children, "Love being who you are, so that you can reach out and love others."
She ended with- "You are all soooo precious, and you are all beautiful, and I love you all just the way you are, and Randy Kazandy loves you too. I wrote this book for you. Thank you for allowing me to come to your school. Bye everybody!"