Magical Education

Published 11:50 am Friday, January 23, 2009

PROCTORVILLE — It’s a magician’s stock in trade to keep an audience guessing with slight of hand and the tomfoolery that only a true prestidigitator can utilize to keep his audience in the dark.

Garry Boothe is no different as he pulls a snow-white dove out of a satiny bag or a bunny out of a basket. What does make Boothe a conjurer of a different color is the message that he has been bringing to schoolchildren for the past 13 years: Character Counts.

“Life has a secret,” Boothe told two audiences of children at Fairland East Elementary School Thursday morning. “The character you build and use every day will make your life good or bad. It depends on your character.”

Email newsletter signup

Sitting on the floor on the school’s gym, the children received life lessons through the art of balloon making, ventriloquism and skits.

“Build character and you won’t do drugs,” Boothe said. “If you love yourself, respect yourself, you’ll never smoke.

“When you lie to someone, there is one person in the world who knows. That’s you. That’s because of your conscience. When you lie to someone, they lose trust. You are going to need trust to get a job.”

Sponsored by the Tri-State Building and Construction Trades Council, the show was the inspiration of Steve Burton of the council.

“Steve Burton dreamed it up and asked me to do it,” Boothe said.

A Wayne County, W.Va., native Boothe takes his show on the school circuit in 32 counties in the Tri-State each year. When he ends this season, he will have done his special magic show to more than 600,000 children in 13 years.

“If you are willing to learn and believe, life can work out,” he said. “You are never too young to start learning character.”