Sayles sings to Stillwater students about kindness

| 12 Feb 2019 | 09:42

    By Laurie Gordon
    STILLWATER - The strum of her guitar struck a chord of kindness in the hearts of Stillwater Elementary School students on Friday as Regina Sayles sang an empowering message. Sayles is a singer/songwriter with a passion for playing and mentoring children in music.
    “I think kindness is really important and I think this assembly is great," said 6th-grader Alexander Yanaga.
    Luke Kramer, also in the sixth grade, said, “it's important to remind kids to be kind to everyone at school and to their families.”
    Sayles sailed into the presentation with a riling rendition of “Best Day of my Life,” by American Authors, immediately capturing the children's attention. Even teachers sang along as Sayles' charisma was contagious. Her renditions were well received with applause.
    “My goal is to present important character traits like respect and responsibility,” Sayles said. “And through music, promote their importance in everyday life.”
    This is Sayles' second year performing at the school. The students who remembered her were thrilled to see her again and many sang along to the Tim McGraw song, "Humble and Kind," which Sayles learned specially to present in this assembly.
    Originally from a small town in Ohio, Sayles now calls East Stroudsburg home.
    “My best friend Sarah, is a school principal in Westerville, Ohio,” she said, “She kind of jokingly, kind of seriously asked me to come play for her 500-plus student elementary school 10 years ago."
    Sayles initially declined, thinking she'd not be able to capture students' attention for more than 45 minutes.
    "I eventually gave in and performed for her school; it was like nothing I had ever experienced before," she said. "The first couple years after that I would just play popular songs for the kids and have fun. After some thought, decided I needed to further develop my presentation. I eventually got my M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology which helped me understand the process of designing an effective presentation and began writing original songs specifically for the assemblies. So my inspiration was definitely my best friend. Without her, I would have never started playing for kids.”
    Sayles says it's vital to encourage kids to be kind to others, but also to themselves.
    “Kindness goes a long way if you can be strong and confident in who you are,” she said.
    Sayles believes music may be able to fill the void in a world where technology sometimes serves as a substitute for human interraction and communication.
    “Music gives words to people when they might not have the ability to express what they are feeling on their own,” she said. “Music is passionate and empathetic to the human condition. That's not something technology has the ability to do all on it's own.”
    Sayles develops musical assemblies such as this one to promote character education, and to remind children just how amazing and important they are.
    “I feel privileged that my journey has led me on this path,” Sayles said. Her message circles back to her intro song: “I want kids to make every day 'the best day of their life.'”