What a wonderful day and opportunity for fellowship it was!!!
I have been able to speak with a number of folks (administration, faculty, and students alike) about what they took away from it and I have gotten nothing but super positive feedback. Administration has even said that they would fully support (meaning funding and all) for this to be a recurring event at the end of every single year!!!! *SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRE!!!!!!!*
You must realize something: This idea originate from my own "crazy" imagination in the midst of winter when I was also working on getting the ombre experience lesson idea together while also juggling everything needed to do the sound of music set design and fabrication. I casually mentioned it to the one senior student who spearheaded this with me with (sort of) the expectation that he was absolutely "crazy" enough to want to do it. (He's just that kind of awesome and so I kind of wasn't surprised that he wanted to do it.)
Here are some more shots and things to note of how we got from start to finish on the whole thing.
We did a number of trial runs with inflated balloons to see how long they would maintain their ability to self-levitate. We determined that we had a max of 8-10 hours before they would lose their ability so in order to fully utilize that ability, we determined we would have to inflate the balloons the morning/day of the release. Our preferred time frame would have been mid-morning but we ended up being given the tail-end of the school day in the way of the last two periods - so about 1:30-2pm was when we would do the release.
In order to accommodate both the inflating of the balloons, storage until the release, etc. etc. etc., we used our school's performance arts center/venue and gathered over 20 students to help inflate, tie off, and attach balloon clips (with strings pre-attached) to the balloons. We estimated it might take us as long as five hours with two tanks of helium based on some balloon inflating that had been done weeks before for another event for around 300 balloons. We ordered 600 (100 of each color from Oriental Trading) but ended up with less than 550 because of shoddy balloon quality, balloons that burst from being overinflated ("pilot" error, if you will), and ones that just got away from us and floated up to the ceiling while we were trying to inflate them. We had the students come in at 5:15am to do the inflating and we were done and cleaned up by 8am when school started. (Note: EVERY student that came in said it was "totally worth it" and other students that missed out were disappointed that they didn't take the opportunity to join in!!!)
We stored the balloons in this venue until they students would all gather together for the presentation and instructions about how this whole event would go down...
We did provide lots of coffee and other yummy breakfast food as extra incentive for those who got themselves up and into school so early.
At the last period of the day, all of the students were gathered in the venue for the presentation about color theory (done by my senior student partner-in-crime) and he capped off the presentation with specific instructions about how each student was to get their balloon off the balloon clips/strings and out to the school quad in formation in order to release them. There were diagrams/maps that showed the path they were to walk and volunteers on-hand to facilitate traffic control and flow. Volunteers were wearing rainbow tie-dyed shirts so though would be easy to pick out from the crowd.
Once the students got out to the quad, there were more volunteers (donning the requisite tie-dyed shirts) who were holding large poster board signs corresponding with all six colors of the balloons we had.
Students stood in their color group (away from other groups) until they were given the "OK" that every single student had exited the building with a balloon and was ready for the release.
The center of the color "wheel" formation was marked with a duo of balloons (in black and white) where my senior student stood with an electronic megaphone and I was with my camera to document the action.
When all was clear and everyone was confirmed to be outside with a balloon in hand, the volunteers were given the "yes" to bring their groups toward the center and we all bunch together as closed as we could. A countdown was given from 20 and then the balloons were finally released.
Again, I'm sorry I don't have any video of the actually release but it was truly (for lack of better words) MAGICAL to experience. Even now just looking at the stills of the event above with all of those colorful balloons floating up to the sun, I can hardly put into words how it felt to be there. And that, my friends, was/is the whole point of such a thing as RoyGBiv day in the first place!!!
It's about not just telling but SHOWING the students the gift that is an experience, that gift that is visual art, the gift that is being a part of the creation of visual art, and the gift that is being a part of something so much larger than itself.
A lovely blog reader (Hi, Cynthia S!) left a wonderfully supportive comment on my original posting about this event saying that she was going to "copy" this for her school next year. Friends, folks, blog readers, WORLD - PLEASE COPY THIS IDEA!!!!! Like I said before, to my knowledge (and per Google) no single day like RoyGBiv day exists at all AND IT SHOULD.
My own personal thoughts about this are to maybe not make it one single day that is the same day every year (though the last day of school is a good one for it to be) but perhaps making it a "surprise" experience - so you never know when RoyGBiv day will be - is better since that type of thing better adheres to the whole way that rainbows happen to begin with. Rainbows are kind of surprise to come upon, right? But they are always welcome. Now, for something like a balloon release? Well, that takes some planning so you would certainly require a select group of folks that would have to be "in the know" about it but my thoughts are that it could happen in other ways too. Like, perhaps, one day at lunch rainbow cupcakes could be made and served to surprise all of the students. (BTW - this is also another significant undertaking to make happen. I know from experience!) or you could figure out a way to get a sno-cone truck to come in and serve up those pre-fab rainbow sno-cones (I know, whatever, it would definitely cut down on the labor to make RoyGBiv happen in the first place).
Whatever the case, I'm actually leaning towards making RoyGBiv day a regular occurrence at my school. My reasoning also harkens back to the fact that I teach and live by an establishment of faith and the rainbow is SO sacred as it is featured in scripture. I love being able to draw students back to scripture to remind them of how much of this present-day world still contains the makings of scripture from way back when because it helps them to see how timeless the words of the Bible truly are. For purposes not of faith though? Well, RoyGBiv day is just awesome and that's all there is to it.
So all of this is to say that if it can be done at my school? It can be done at YOURS too and I encourage you to help make this happen because you just have no idea the enormity of the gift that you will be giving your school/students/self/colleagues/administration/community when they witness it. :)