The hallways of Fair Oaks smelled of popcorn and warm turkey last Friday, as the Falcons, like students in many other elementary schools hosted Thanksgiving feasts.
As students of Letha McLaurin’s class anticipated their scheduled party, they were first treated to a special guest – one of time travel proportions.
While it may not have been a pilgrim or native American invited to address the class, visitor Bobby Bennett undoubtedly held a captive audience.
Bennett was invited by McLaurin to address the class about his career as a part of the district’s focus on College and Career readiness.
“My students spend a fair amount of time in class exploring ideas, personal interests, pros and cons of career choices,” Special Day Class teacher McLaurin said of her class, adding that they “have had the opportunity to research, write and share about their career interests. Now they have had a special visitor from the entertainment industry.”
Bennett shared with the class a number of experiences from his Hollywood career. Of the many adventures the one which was most notable was his work as a “stand in” for Michael J. Fox in each of the Back to the Future movies.
Bennett began his career in front of the camera at the age of five doing commercial work, as well as working on live shows in the Los Angeles area.
“When I got out of college, I got really lucky because the whole time I was studying I was doing things like fencing and dancing so I could get cast in other things,” Bennett stated.
He noted that his study of dance helped land him a role in a theater production of West Side Story.
Eventually, Bennett left theater work and began doing work as an extra. With a stature and build comparable to Fox, he was first used as a stand in for the famous actor on the film Teen Wolf. A part which Bennett said due to all the make-up used, he was able to fill quite a bit of time for the actor.
“As an extra you generally work one day on one movie and that’s it. Then you’re back unemployed looking for your next job the next day,” he told McLaurin’s students.
The class became abuzz, as the actor shared stories of life on set with actors, as well as the commitment it takes to maintain a career in the industry.
Now with decades behind him and his career with Fox, Bennett indicated that he had heard rumors of a revisit of Back to the Future, with the next generation in the lead. He shared for him personally the movies would not be the same without Fox.
“Now that I’m older and not acting as much, I work as a director and assistant director,” he said. “When I work as an assistant director my entire job is about set safety.”
McLaurin shared her gratitude as well as excitement for Bennett taking the time to visit her classroom, stating the importance of students districtwide being exposed to different careers of interest.
“Work in the entertainment industry can be difficult, but through perseverance, it is a career choice that can be fulfilling in many ways,” she said.
It also just one of the options available, as the young Falcons have come to learn.
“I’m confident that each of my students will continue to make a positive impact within their school and community and will succeed as they grow and prepare for their career choice,” McLaurin shared.