The children seen in the video above performing Madonna’s “Vogue” at their kindergarten graduation from the Olympic Primary Center in Los Angeles. Their teacher Mr. Avina posted the video to YouTube but several commenters have shared moving details that provide more context on the students and teacher.
“The boys and girls started the school year as shy English learners and have bloomed into confident kindergarten graduates who exude stage presence as they sang and performed their unique choreography to “Vogue,” wrote one commenter familiar with the class. “Mr. Avina is a gifted teacher who has helped each and every student succeed academically as well as develop a love for the arts. Bravo, Mr. Avina!!”
Another commenter reveals Mr. Avina ended up teaching kindergarten after budget cuts forced him to leave his last school:
Mr. Avina then chimes in and explains he was forced to leave Mayberry Elementary in Silverlake due to budget cuts.
Mr. Avina, I was reading about how you lost your sixth grade teaching position due to budget cuts and were reassigned to kindergarten. I’m guessing the kindergartners and their parents were glad to have you :)
Yes, that is correct. It was difficult to leave my school last year (Mayberry Elementary), but I ended up at a great little school and had amazing school year with these kids! It worked out very well! I’m curious, how did you hear about that?
And one last bit from Mr. Avina:
You know, these kids come into school singing songs like “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” so you know they are very capable of learning pop songs. By the end of the year, the nursery rhyme kiddie songs become a bit mind-numbing, so I wanted to teach them a pop song that I loved (and this was the result). When your expectations are high, your kids meet them.
According to public records, 97.5% of the student body at the Primary Center is Latino and close to 98% of them are on a free or reduced-price lunch program.