Circus raises money for technology

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The circus came to Westminster over the weekend, bringing along laughter, entertainment and even some science education.

Westminster High School hosted two performances of Visindi Circus on Feb. 1-2.

Visindi Circus is the creation of Sunset Ridge Elementary teacher Cassie Drew.

She organized the circus in an effort to raise money for technology for her school. She also wanted to give students an opportunity to learn about science in a fun, new way.

“I love the idea of fusing things together that at first done seem like they would go together, like science and circus,” she said.

Drew nearly met her goal to raise $10,000, she collected a little more than $7,000 from ticket sales. She said she was not sure what the money would be used for, but was considering iPads or chromebooks for students.

The circus featured science demonstrations, along with juggling, hand balancing, hula hooping, aerial acrobatics and stilt walkers, to name a few. But Drew didn’t just organize the circus; she also directed and starred in the performance.

After competing in gymnastics for 18 years, Drew was looking for a new physical challenge. She found a circus troupe called the Roustabouts, and soon found her new passion.

“After I graduated college and was done with gymnastics, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “But then I found aerial acrobatics and the circus troupe, and soon I really fell in love with it.”

Drew recruited her fellow circus-mates to perform in the Visindi Circus. She got a lot of help from her co-producer Ian Caldwell, who has traveled the world performing with circus companies. About 15 other performers also volunteered their time to make the circus a reality, including Ryan Hamity.

He partnered with Drew for an acrobatics act. He said normally there aren’t many benefit shows out there, so to be a part of Visindi was a good experience.

“No one is making any money, it’s all going to the school,” he said. “There was a lot of work that went into, more than I thought it was going to be. But it was good to see it all come together.”

Drew said she hopes to turn Visindi Circus into a nonprofit organization and see it expand to help other school raise money for technology. For more information on Visindi Circus, visit http://visindi.org.

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