Wacky witch visits Brookside for Halloween

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VOLUNTEERS: “Wanda the Wacky Witch,” also known as Jania Taylor, asks for volunteers for a few tricks during the Brookside Elementary School’s Halloween magic show. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — Halloween may mean candy and costumes for some students, but at Brookside Elementary School the day meant a visit from “Wanda the Wacky Witch.”

“Wanda,” also known as Jania Taylor, amazed Brookside students with tricks, including making three uneven pieces of cord even lengths, then uneven again.

“The kids usually go crazy for that one,” Taylor said about the trick.

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MISMATCHED GLOVES: Taylor amazed the audience with a glove trick. Taylor put both gloves on her hands, showing how they fit, and after the audience helped rotate their arms and made noises like drying machines, one glove appeared to have shrank.

Taylor has been working magic tricks for more than 32 years. For the Brookside students, she performed a fun-based show, while some of her other shows are to teach lessons in reading, safety, recycling and nutrition.

Taylor’s interest in becoming a magician was inspired during a magic convention in Columbus, Ohio. After watching other magicians perform, Taylor dropped out of college to attend the Chavez Studio of Magic, in Colon. Her parents fully supported the decision, she said. She started performing her own magic right away.

“Mrs. (Kara) Schafer reached out to a performer,” said Leah Lipar, paraeducator at Brookside. “That performer suggested ‘Wanda’ to us.”

Taylor came to entertain Brookside students with purple hair, pointed hat and a spider painted at the end of her nose.

“You have to like kids to perform for them,” she said. “If not, they can tell. This age, the K to fourth-graders, are the believers.”

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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