Wednesday was a busy day. After a couple of meetings, I headed out on a couple of photo assignments.

It was kind of funny to me because they took me to each of the boys' schools. One would probably have been embarrassed if he would have seen me. The other did see me and was excited. You can probably figure out which was in high school and which was in elementary school.

As I filed into the Horace Mann gym to take photos of the special jazz band and show choir performances, I was nearly brought back to high school myself.

I played trumpet through middle and high school and did jazz band. Although I wasn't part of the show choir itself, I did play trumpet to accompany them.

So as Wednesday's performances got underway, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed being a part of those ensembles.

But what struck me the most was how much the staff and high school students were encouraging the elementary students to stay active — even if it wasn't the activity they were promoting.

In fact, they emphasized the more involved you are, the better success you're likely to have.

They mentioned the studies correlating higher test scores to more student involvement.

And, they all emphasized it didn't have to be all one activity and nothing else. More than half of the show choir raised their hands when asked if they also participated in athletics. Additional hands went up when Horace Mann Principal Jody Williams asked how many of them excelled academically. Ditto for when she asked how many also participated in drama, speech and other clubs that aren't academic.

I was one of those students. I was involved in athletics for most of my high school — until a hurdle got in my way and I broke my wrist. That put me out for the season.

Jazz band meant I was also involved in marching and concert band. The hours were long, but they were fun. It meant time with my friends and traveling to contests each season, highlights that were also emphasized during Wednesday's performance.

I also did solo/ensemble contest each year. That meant even more hours of practice, but it never really bothered me.

Drama was another big part of my time in high school. I did the annual musical a couple of years, as well as speech contest. But my favorite part was in the summer.

My school has one of the most unique theater programs in the state, possibly the country. Students, staff and often former students work to pull off six plays in six weeks. Each show is given three weeks to prepare, and performances rotate between the auditorium and the commons area — which is similar to the OHS cafeteria area.

It was a busy time, but it was a blast. Summer Theatre was probably the highlight of my high school years, and it was a great opportunity to take on a variety of characters.

I hoped Wednesday's show — and the others at the local elementary schools — get the kids thinking about all they opportunities they can take advantage of in high school. It's definitely a conversation I'll have with Colin, and it's one I've had many times with Logan.

It may seem a long way off for those elementary students, but it will come faster than they think.

And those years will go by even faster.

Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's magazine editor, leading production of "Ottumwa Life," the award-winning "Business People" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.