Happiness Inc. Says Goodbye to the Neighborhood


Kiera Zwack

Seniors Elizabeth Goff and Jake Horton perform the Happiness show.

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was on air for 33 years. Throughout this time, Mr. Rogers would help the audience feel loved and help them smile when they were going through a tough time. This year’s Happiness Inc. show is conveying that message to audiences across Iowa and throughout the country through songs such as “It’s You I Like” and “Treat People With Kindness”. 

If you grew up watching Mr. Rogers, you’d recognize how Happiness incorporates references in their show—most notably the puppets of Daniel Tiger, King Friday XIII, Lady Elaine and X the Owl. 

“It means a lot to perform a Mr. Rogers show because It was so many people’s childhoods,” said senior Jake Horton, who portrays Mr. Rogers. “People can expect to at the very least, be moved by the show, as it takes an important theme and plays on the heartstrings, and I am very proud of the work everyone has put in to make it this far.” 

Happiness has spent countless hours singing and dancing to make this show as close to perfect as it could be. While at the same time also talking in-depth about the impact Mr. Rogers had on people both on air and long after his death. 

“The message I want to convey to the audience is that we should all treat others with kindness and find joy in everyday life,” said senior Joslyn Sheely.

But as the competitive season has come to an end, the Going Out concert is one last goodbye to the neighborhood. The Going Out concert is an over five-decade-long tradition at Kennedy. From start to finish, there are laughs, smiles, tears and traditions that have been passed on throughout the years. 

“Traditions are important to an organization and its people. They tie together people from the past, present, and future in unique ways,” said Storm Ziegler, director of Happiness. “Traditions honor the work that has gone before and make current members feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.”

The Going Out concert includes performances from Chanteurs, Protege, Moonlight and Happiness. As well as Harding Neo Classic at the 6 p.m show and the Happiness parent performance at the 8 p.m show. Parents of kids in Happiness have had the opportunity to learn and attempt to put on their version of this year’s show. 

“Parents are learning their version of the Happiness show that they will present at the concert, and Happiness is learning our traditional goodbye song, “Forever”,” said Ziegler. 

Taking place at the very end of the night, the song, “Forever,” is an opportunity for the Happiness group, of that particular year and alumni, to sing together one last time. Its words remind people they’re not alone and they’ll always have good friends, forever. 

As this year’s season comes to a close on Thursday, March 9, Ziegler reminds us all of this message. “Be good people. Good things happen to good people.”