By Elizabeth Marvel, Associate Director of Admissions
Every Thursday afternoon, a group of burgeoning young magicians reviews the "Rules of Magic," which emphasize secrecy, innovation, practice, and respect, and turn a prosaic Zoom screen into a place of wonder and mystery.
Upon arriving at Graded at the start of this academic year, Middle School Principal David Trajtenberg created Magic Club. Mr. Trajtenberg enthuses, "I love sharing magic tricks with students and seeing how it might ignite some of their passions and strengths. It's a real confidence booster when you can do it well."
Graded middle schoolers jumped at the chance to join the club. Carolina B. recalls that she had already dabbled in some magic and was excited to learn more. Nathan M. adds, "I saw the opportunity pop up, and I thought it would be fun and exciting to learn and show off some cool tricks."
Magic Club members convene every week to learn new tricks and deepen their knowledge of the performing art. In one session, students learned about mentalism through Kirigami, a deceptively simple yet impressive mind-reading demonstration created by the eminent mentalist Max Maven. In another, they virtually connected with a professional magician.
The enchantment doesn't stop when students sign off Zoom. These budding illusionists practice the tricks they've learned in the club, as well as independently online, by presenting them to their families at home. When they come together on Thursdays, they are eager to perform nifty sleights of hand for their fellow club members. Nathan M. remarks, "We can show each other tricks and explain how to do them. It's not like a club where you watch people do tricks, and that's all."
Mr. Trajtenberg is proud of the effort these student-magicians put into perfecting illusions. "When it's evident that they have some ownership over the effect and have worked to make it better and better, it feels like the purpose of the Magic Club is coming to life."
Participation in Magic Club allows students to cultivate several skills. Mr. Trajtenberg notes, "There is so much to learn about psychology, public speaking, human relations, theatrics, visual perceptions, and more. Anyone can do a magic trick. But only those with a real interest in those more rigorous topics can truly excel in the art of magic." The club instills confidence in students and promotes camaraderie. Elisa C. exclaims, "Even if we do something wrong, no one laughs at us!"
The students look forward to the day the club can meet on campus. Nathan M. acknowledges, "I am looking forward to learning magic tricks in-person, so we have the essential tools to complete a magic trick to its full potential." Mr. Trajtenberg is also eager to move the club from a Zoom room to a classroom but says, "For now, we're talking about basics, getting to know each other, and having fun."