Students and faculty alike were thrilled with a recent visit by Manu Manzo at Silver Bluff Elementary Feb. 15 to help celebrate the school’s Random Acts of Kindness Week. She shared her life experiences and motivated the students in 4th and 5th grades to be the very best they can be and to always pursue their dreams. We were also enlightened with her beautiful voice and music talent.
When Manu arrived at the school, she immediately recognized the school’s Principal Mayra Barreira (formally Ms. Falcon) who was the principal of Eugenia B. Thomas K-8 Center in 2005 when Manu was in 5th grade as a recently arrival from Venezuela.
Both Manu and Barreira were excited by this encounter. Manu was touched when Barreira expressed how proud she was of Manu’s achievements stating, “I am so proud to have you at Silver Bluff Elementary sharing your life’s experiences and passion as the artist that you are, and I am especially proud to have been your principal when you were a young girl. I wish you the very best always and marvel to hear you sing so beautifully.”
Manu’s performance was part of the school’s activities for Love and Kindness Week. Music is a wonderful way to encourage students to express themselves, ultimately helping them build social skills, leadership and self-awareness. Through music we can share the gift of love and kindness with our family and friends.
Manu spoke to the students about her experiences upon her arrival to the United States, not being able to understand English, the importance of believing in themselves, and pursuing their dreams despite obstacles. This was very inspirational to the students at Silver Bluff as most can relate to her experiences as Hispanics living in Miami.
She also shared the importance of setting priorities and focusing on your dreams, stating that at times she has had to make sacrifices and go to the studio to practice as opposed to spending time with her family and friends.
Through her strength and hope to achieve her dreams, Manu has found these sacrifices to be worthwhile and encouraged students to set priorities, follow their heart, and work hard to make their dreams come true. She emphasized that although our dreams often seem far-fetched, through hard work and dedication we can obtain them.
Her presentation concluded with a performance of “Caminando.”