A Night at the Ballpark

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SWAN voice instructor Heidi Shannon with her student Bryanna Still just before game time.
SWAN voice instructor Heidi Shannon with her student Bryanna Still just before game time.

With the maturity and poise of an adult, 12 year old Bryanna Still stepped onto the field at the Clipper Magazine Stadium on August 13th. You would never guess the story behind the smiling face and angelic voice that opened the Barnstormer’s game that night to sing our national anthem. But, like many of the children SWAN serves, Bryanna has learned how to strive against life’s difficulties and press onward with grit.

She had been on the pitcher’s mound last year for the same purpose but that didn’t stop the butterflies she felt leading up to this moment. Reassured by her voice instructor, Heidi Shannon, and Executive Director, Diana Vuolo, she walked out and began to sing. Her voice soared, her diction was clear and the poignancy of the moment caused her audience to cheer.

She did a beautiful job
She did a beautiful job

When she walked off the field Diana embraced and praised Bryanna for the beautiful performance. I walked off that field in awe of Bryanna because of her maturity, poise and confidence.

This moment was a picture of what SWAN is all about: recognizing, in spite of tattered life circumstances,  the precious gifts that lie hidden within each child, investing in those gifts and providing our students with opportunities to serve their community and to succeed.

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