Student Spotlight: Danny Wells


(Photo: Danny Wells)


Danny Wells is a clown. It would not be inaccurate to say this; nor would he be particularly offended by it. Danny Wells can ride unicycles. Danny Wells can juggle. Danny Wells can walk a trapeze. Danny Wells dresses to stand out. Danny Wells has not had a pie thrown at his face, although he is open to the possibility of experiencing this in the future. Danny Wells is the biggest clown in Centreville.

Danny Wells, a sophmore, acquired the first of these series of unusual interests on one Christmas morning, when his parents decided to give the gift of a unicycle to his older brother, Alex Wells. Alex Wells taught himself how to ride this unicycle, and upon seeing this, Danny became certain that he wanted nothing more than to pursue the same activity as well. The unicycle in the question, the one which began the whole fateful chain of events which has culminated in Danny Wells becoming a clown, features a seat that sticks up at around five whole feet up in the air. (That’s really tall for a unicycle.)

When Danny Wells saw that Alex Wells began trying to teach himself how to ride this intimidating piece of clowning machinery, he resolved that he had to learn as well — and learn, in fact, at the same time as Alex Wells, simultaneously, as a contest between the two to determine who could finish first. The race was on — and was off as quickly as it began, with a decisive victory for Alex Wells, who finished learning how to ride the unicycle a month before Danny Wells did. Nonetheless, this student spotlight primarily concerns Danny Wells, whose eclectic array of charmingly eccentric talents and abilities remains impressive, even if it may have taken him a little longer than his older sibling to become acquainted with and master the difficult practice of riding a 5 foot tall unicycle.

Danny Wells is now unquestionably fluent in unicycle. Not only can he ride the 5 foot tall one, he also has a second tiny one, which provides a slightly less thrilling and scary ride. Danny Wells has, in fact, ridden this unicycle within the halls of Centreville High School! Although I cannot say for sure, that would most likely — statistically speaking — make him the first person to ride a unicycle within this building ever, in the history of humanity. A commendable feat! But that’s not all: in fact, statistically speaking, Danny Wells is also most likely the first student in the Fairfax County Public Schools system to have traversed a school via unicycle at all. One small step for a clown, one giant bounce for clownkind.
Danny Wells can juggle. During our interview, I never got around to asking him if could juggle while on a unicycle, and I suspect that he hasn’t mastered this particular feat quite yet, but his familiarity with the two component acts which comprise this classic clown routine is still pretty impressive. Danny Wells considers juggling, well, a fun thing to do. The talent is right up his alley, and only adds to his already prodigious repertoire of skills. Among those skills, by the way, is also gymnastics. Danny Wells happens to be a JD in the Junior Olympics.

Danny Wells, moreover, is not content with restricting his purview to the vanilla categories of gymnastics. The interest which I will proceed to describe also has its origin in a birthday gift given to Danny Well’s siblings from his parents. However, whereas his interest in unicycling came from a Christmas gift, it was a gift for his siblings’ b-day that introduced him to the trapeze. That’s right: the trapeze, that most dangerous and forbidden of clown arts, is another skill under Danny Wells’ belt, which he picked up when his parents took him and his siblings to “Trapeze School NY”, located in Washington D.C. (It is typical of clownish institutions like trapeze schools to have befuddling and prankstery names. In fact, it is considered the norm in the industry.) The experience was such a blast for Danny Wells and his siblings that they would later return to further refine and perfect their trapezing skills.
As a matter of fact, Danny Wells was so happy with his trapezing experience at the Trapeze School NY that he has asked me to shout them out. The Trapeze School NY’s web page for its Washington location can be found here. The Trapeze School NY offers (from what I was able to surmise from a quick perusal of their calender and so on) daily classes in all manner of trapeze-based endeavors and pursuits, from the humble “Flying Trapeze” lesson at around fifty dollars, to the ostentatious and decadent “Intensive Flying Workshop” at around five hundered dollars. For Danny Wells, the Trapeze School NY remains a particularly fondly-remembered stop on the path to ingratiating himself into the business of clownery.

Why does Danny Wells do all this? What motivates him? He tells me that it’s good to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Having such unique skills makes him stand out among others. And what’s his favorite part about it all? Well, most of all, he likes seeing people’s faces light up with joy at the sight of his antics. He’s here to make us smile.

Danny Wells does not only act like a clown; he also dresses like one. He is not afraid to attract attention by his manner of clothing, and wishes to have fun by expressing himself with style. He mentions having, at one point or another, went to this school donning the following outlandish and positively comic outfits: A green lizard onesie! A hat with three-dimensional monkey and banana trees that extend outwards from it! A dress! It makes one wonder: has our spotlighted student ever assumed the classic clown garb and its accompanying face paint? The familiar, ever-recognizable look? Well, as of right now, not yet (although Danny Wells has had face paint on him before). But he has his whole life ahead of him. Indeed, the future looks bright for Danny Wells.