If it's April, it's time for Rodstock- Kelly Walsh High School's annual talent show/concert that showcases the vast skills of KW students, while honoring the man who dedicated his career to cultivating the talents of his students, Rodney Mahaffey.

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According to a press release from KWHS, students, staff and alumni gathered in the Kelly Walsh auditorium for an afternoon of song, dance, smiles and laughs.

"A well-loved and highly anticipated tradition, the event celebrates the musical talents of the performers and highlights the exceptional professional skills of the students and staff who run the lights, music, and other production elements," the release stated. "Additionally, Rodstock provides an opportunity to continue the school fundraising campaign supporting Make a Wish Wyoming, with all donations received going towards the organization."

This was the second time in two years that Rodstock took place (it took 2020 off because of COVID) and it proved, once again, how important things like this are to schools. It was fun. It was harmless. It gave students a chance to step out of their comfort zones, or break out of their shells. It was an opportunity for kiddos to maybe, just maybe, take the first steps into who they will one day become.

"While Rodstock is a huge display of the talented students, staff, and community, this event is all about highlighting one of our four pillars of excellence: Acceptance," said KWHS Principal Mike Britt. "Every act is cheered on, supported, and appreciated for the courage and talent of performers who take the stage. It is a great opportunity to apply the mantra we practice each day, 'Be Nice.' I'm so proud of all the tremendous performances and the exceptional work behind the scenes to see this event a success!"

Acceptance. It's a big word, a big idea. It's something that so many young people struggle so hard to find. Teen years are hard. You're growing up but you're not an adult. You're not a kid either. You're finding yourself, and sometimes you get lost. You're searching for who you are, but constantly comparing yourself to others. And while you're going through all of these changes, physically and mentally and emotionally, you're doing your very best just to fit in, just to survive.

But things like Rodstock teach kids that instead of fitting in, they should instead try to stand out. It teaches them to be who they are; to stand up, stick out their chests and say unapologetically, unequivocally, undeniably. "This is me."

Rodstock gives students a chance to find out who they are and then shout it into a microphone. It's about so much more than an afternoon of music. It's about showing young people that they have a place in this world; that they don't need to fit in with the world; they need to make the world fit with them. That's something Rodney Mahaffey taught his students every single day.

And it's something his namesake continues to teach every year. It's his legacy. It's Kelly Walsh's legacy.

And it's a whole lot of fun.

Photos of the event can be seen below.

Rodstock Gives Students a Chance to Shine