At Welchester Elementary, students are giving a new meaning to the term "class clown."
"Want some help," asked former teacher turned ringmaster, Greg Aigner.
This is Welchester School's Circus Arts Club. It's a place where clowning around isn't just tolerated, it's encouraged and it's all made possible by Greg Aigner.
"He has such a big heart and just gives and gives," said principal Bethany Robinson.
Aigner, a retired teacher and theater arts minor, started the program nine years ago when his son attended the school. He brought in unicycles, Chinese yo-yo's, stilts and balance balls and it all grew from there.
"One of our mission statements is to teach kids how to be better citizens and just to learn how to be part of the group, how to work together with people, how to be responsible with equipment, there’s lots of teachable moments all of the time," Aigner said.
The program builds confidence and teaches kids about teamwork and taking risks.
"I’m actually training to be like a professional clown that goes to like really hard circuses…like advanced circuses," said 3rd grader, Nora Smith.
"Their faces always light up when they see him and they’re just excited to connect with him and just tell stories or whatever, they love him," said Ms. Robinson.
Aigner is a lifelong educator, who is now fostering curiosity and teaching kids how to find their own bit of magic.
"It just keeps me young, I have a lot to give and kids give me back more than I give to them," Aigner said.
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