Students at Winnisquam High School who found special colored eggs hidden last Thursday afternoon by the band Recycled Percussion had the opportunity to select nonprofit organizations, which will now receive $1,000 each as part of the Chaos and Kindness acts they do throughout the state. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
October 03, 2018TILTON – There were moments of controlled chaos and moments of kindness at Winnisquam Regional High School last Thursday when some unexpected guests arrived, thanks to funding provided by the district's System of Care Grant.
While the visit was kept a secret to not only students but teachers and staff, an announcement over the loud speaker system a little after 1 p.m. that day finally gave it all away.
"Hey Winnisquam High School! What's up? This is Justin, Ryan and Alex from the band Recycled Percussion and the T.V. show 'Chaos and Kindness'…We have been given permission to take over the school today…so let's get it on!"
The greeting was followed by instructions for a school wide scavenger hunt with clues to direct the students to the location of plastic colored eggs the band had hidden earlier. Whoever found an egg was asked to bring it to the school office then say a few words of kindness over the intercom.
Hurried footsteps could be heard going up and down the halls as clues for five eggs were given out and Ryan peeked out from the office, laughing as he videoed some of the "chaos" they had created.
Everyone was next told to head for the gym while those who found an egg were asked to think of one organization or one family in need to whom the band could donate $1,000.
Once everyone was settled, the band made their entrance to wild cheers from the student body and staff, and Justin first took a few moments to introduce himself.
Raised just 15 miles away outside of Concord, he said life was hard for him growing up but he didn't let it lead him astray. With financial problems and alcoholism in his family he said he turned to drumming to get out his frustrations with life. When a talent show was scheduled at his school, he got some friends together, gathered buckets, pots and anything else they could find to beat out a rhythm on and set out to win the contest.
"We came in second place," he said with a frown.
The winner's mother was part of the judging that day.
That didn't deter them, though. They soon tried out for the television show America's Got Talent and won their way to the finals nine years ago. They didn't win that either but their Top 3 finish won them a lengthy contract in Las Vegas and the rest is history.
"So, my message to you today is to find something you care about and do it. Hey- I get paid to hide Easter eggs in schools now," he said with a grin.
His other message for the students was to be kind.
"The one thing I want to ring true today is that you remember every person in this room is special. I don't care if you're a rich kid, a poor kid, black, white or purple…everyone in this room is 100-perent equal and each and everyone of you is special," Justin said.
He then called upon the students who found the five eggs. Each were asked to reveal their own act of kindness by determining where the $5,000 from Recycled Percussion was to be donated. The nonprofit groups they selected were Autism Speaks, American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer's Association, Breast Cancer Awareness and Franklin Animal Shelter.
The band was also pleased to announce that Recycled Percussion recently set a world record by playing in all 50 states in just 12 days while raising money to provide toys for 5,000 children in their home state of New Hampshire. Just back from a 100 show tour of China, the group then provided a little of their own "chaos" with a few demonstrations of what they do as they travel the world.
When the cheers died down, members of the audience were brought out to be part of the fun. Teachers had a Battle of the Bands competition and students had a chance to win $100 in a basketball free-throw contest from half-court. Sadly none of them were successful, nor was their Physical Education teacher Kevin Dane when he was asked to save the day and win cash for the students. But, they all had fun trying with shots over their head, from between their legs, and even backwards.
Finally, Justin told the students he would give them "an epic dance-off competition" if they would promise to be kind to one another and he was true to his word. Teachers were brought onto the floor and given 10 seconds each to perform their best dance moves. From the Shimmy to the Worm, the Floss Dance to some smooth break dancing, the teachers showed a side of them most students had never seen.
"That was by far my favorite teacher dance competition ever," Justin said as he pumped his fist in the air and the audience went wild with approval.
To top off the day, students were also asked to impress the crowd with a 10-second dance and the top two, determined by the cheers, were awarded $50 each for their talents.
As the event came to a close, Justin took one last moment to remind them of his message.
"We're all equal! Respect one another! Peace Out, Winnisquam High School!" he said in closing.
The best part? It was all caught on camera by the group's videographer. In approximately two weeks, the students will each receive a bracelet with a code on it. That code will allow them access to a Web site, where they will see all that took place the day Recycled Percussion took over their school and remember what it was all about.