Monday, October 24, 2011

Toyota Makes it Better at Merrimack Hall

 You may have seen the articles in The Huntsville Times or even on the Internet. Perhaps you had the opportunity to attend Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc. for the ceremonial launch of the new four-cylinder engine this past September 29, 2011. Atsushi Niimi, the executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corp., traveled from Japan for this grand celebration that included a $50,000 check made out to Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center. An audience of over 800 people and Merrimack Hall's very own Project UP students performing, our community honored the newest fuel-efficient Toyota engine to be produced in the Tennessee Valley.

Johnny Stallings Arts Program - Project UP students with Governor Robert Bentley

The Senior Company of Merrimack Hall's Project UP stole the stage in their vibrant cerulean blue costumes as they danced to the song, "Rainbow Connection," made famous by Kermit the Frog himself. Meeting Governor Bentley was a highlight for many of our students. In particular, Emily, a teen with Down syndrome, walked up to the governor, wrapped her arms around him and said, "I love you Governor Bentley!" Her mother later told the Merrimack staff that she had no idea her daughter was such a fan.

Emily hugging her hero, Governor Bentley

Before the ceremony, our staff invited the students to come to Merrimack Hall for a chance to play beauty parlor and eat breakfast together. Each of the girls was seated at her own make-up and hair station while the staff curled hair and applied their pink lipstick. The boys buttoned up their brand new collared shirts and avoided the powder booths!

Katie is ready for her photo shoot
Susie and Rachel posing for a picture!


Klaudia and Kinsey playing in the make-up.

We are so thankful to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama for supporting our outreach program, and for putting their faith in our good stewardship of their funding. This recognition is an important honor for Merrimack Hall and the performance opportunity was a dream come true for our students.

As we continue to grow our roots deep into the Rocket City, cultivating the arts is gaining momentum. Merrimack Hall is deeping its impact in the lives of North Alabama while also bringing awareness to the needs of Merrimack Mill Village, the arts and culture community, and individuals with special needs and disabilities.  

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