CORE Academy offers mentor-based programs in which young people can learn about being a chef, interior design, mechanical engineering, architecture and art. They also can learn how to be a magician.
That’s what attacted Michael Blau, 17, of Summerlin. The senior at The Meadows School performs regularly at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.
He comes from a family of entertainers. His father is a professional magician and his mother, a dancer. His brother is a DJ.
Blau recently taught 11 students from different schools as part of a 90-minute class that usually meets at Sahara West Library. It is set to continue through the school year.
“The most important thing to remember is that most magicians will believe that they are the smartest ones in the room,” he told the students. “You can’t think that way, because if you think that way, people are going to figure out your tricks.”
He warned that an audience can tell when a magician is lying because most people, when they lie, will show it in their face and actions.
“So, when I say to the guy, ‘I have no idea where your card is’, I’m being completely honest, even though two seconds later I will know which one it is,” Blau said.
The students were given homework: They had to learn how to cut the cards with one hand, and even practiced with one another.
Pedro Flores, 12, said he’d always found magic interesting and was impressed by Blau’s status.
“That’s the thing, Magic Castle is an over-21 club and still he’s in high school,” he said.
After he graduates in May, Blau is set to attend Washington University in St. Louis. His dream is to have a show on the Strip.
CORE has 150 students that are considered under-resourced. Many attend West Preparatory Academy, while others are from magnet or charter schools. The youngsters attend programs three days a week and have academic enrichment after school.
Lindsay Harper, executive director of CORE, talked about one student who fell behind and missed assignments. He was so shy that he couldn’t bring himself to walk up to the teacher’s desk to hand in his homework, even though he’d done it. All that changed after he began attending Blau’s magic sessions, Harper said.
“To see him learn and grow,” she said. “His grades are up now, and seeing that change in him, it’s incredible.”
To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-387-2949.