Local principal seen 'going ape' during performance

Troy Wunderle and his Big Top Adventures pulled into Moretown School early on a Monday morning. His challenge for the week was a big one; turn 103 elementary school students into trained circus performers. Wunderle's definition of a trained circus performer is someone capable of spreading joy, creating memories and inspiring dreams. By 6 p.m. on Thursday of the same week an audience of over 200 people witnessed 130 trained circus performers put on a dazzling show of laughs, thrills and daring adventures.

Teacher Brenda Hartshorn believes that Troy's true magic does not happen on stage. She was amazed by his command of 30 first- and second-graders: "Troy held their attention, allowed them to be silly and crazy and then knew how to pull them back to learn new skills!" By showtime on Thursday night those 130 circus performers were spinning plates, balancing feathers, or devil sticking, flipping diablos and jumping rope.

A highlight of the show was the first- and second-grade circus performers demonstrating just how much fun a group of monkeys can have on stage. Dressed as a giant banana, a second-grader was having a great time entertaining the monkeys, until suddenly a huge gorilla leapt onto the stage. The audience gasped as the gorilla chased "Chiquita Banana" around the stage. The gorilla resolved the situation like any good principal would by tangoing with "Chiquita Banana" back and forth across the stage.

When the show was over and all the plates had stopped spinning and the diablos were quiet, the lessons of the circus were still very much alive in the hearts of these young people. Wunderle's message of "follow your dream, use passion to overcome challenges and be true to yourself is reinforced by the excitement of the show."

"I get stage fright," one child said to another. The other child responded with, "That's okay. Me, too. Just pretend you're a monkey performing in a circus, and not a little girl."

This goes along with Wunderle's teachings; use passion to dream and use practice to perform and perform to spread joy! This is how an introverted boy with a great deal of passion from Saxon's River, Vermont, created Wunderle's Big Top Adventures and became the director of clowning for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.