BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — It was a magical Friday for students at Bridgeport’s Hallen School. Complete with “oohs” and “ahhs” provided by none other than world-reknown magician, David Blaine.
He spoke about visitors to his childhood schools in Brooklyn, New York that inspired him.
“Once in a blue moon we had somebody that made me think something different,” Blaine said. “It inspired me in a lot of ways.”
Known for death-defying tricks and his sleight of hand, Blaine is a sponsor for Hallen School in the federally-funded Turnaround Arts Program, infusing artistic education into the curriculum for all students. According to the principal, over two years of data show the program helped put the school on a trajectory upward.
“The children felt valued,” said Deborah Santacapita, Ed.D, Hallen School Principal. “Our suspensions went down to hardly anything. Our academics went up. Our student attendance. They like being here and they want to learn.”
Apparently they are learning. Enough to where one student showed-up the magician himself, by fooling him with a card-trick of her own.
It’s Blaine’s second trip to the school. He met privately with some students who excel at math and science, calling them the basis of everything magic relies upon.
“I don’t really try to preach,” Blaine said. “I just do some magic and say the way you learn is to take a different path. You still work and research and get excited about things.”
That message was not lost on the children.
“I think they were cool and crazy at the same time,” said Eric Green, a 6th grade student at the school.
“I think it is a very unique program that we dedicate our school to for so much,” said Ziarih Gravins, a 4th grade student.
Hallen is one of only five schools in the state that received funding for the Turnaround Arts Program.