It wasn't just a typical Monday morning at York Suburban Middle School - magic was in the air.
That's because Collins Key, the 17-year-old magician who took fifth place on this season's "America's Got Talent," spent his day off meeting and performing for students, sharing words of wisdom along the way.
After performing Sunday night with fellow talent show finalists at the Pullo Center, Key decided to pop in to the school. He opened the day with a live broadcast, visited classrooms and performed card tricks for students in the school's bullying prevention program.
And it's all "to show them it's worth it to go after what you want to do," he said.
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Starstruck: When the 6-foot-2 Key, with his heartthrob looks, icy blue eyes and signature key-shaped chain around his neck, walked into one classroom, the students' response was akin to what Davy Jones might have received in the¥'60s.
The girls screamed - and the boys mocked the girls - as the horde of 8th-graders charged Key, asking for autographs and hugs.
Q'Ijahnae Walker, 13, was one of the first to receive the coveted black "CK" scrawled on a piece of paper.
"He's an amazing magician," she said. "He's very handsome, and I really enjoyed his performances on 'America's Got Talent.'"
And Destiny Morrison, 13, could barely contain her excitement.
"I was happy - I was jumping up and down," she said. "It was an amazing feeling you can't even, like, explain."
Being in a room of screaming teenage girls was a little unnerving for Brennen Partsch, 13, but he said he kept his cool.
"It was a lot of fun. All the girls were screaming, so I just tried to stay calm," he said. "When I got my autograph, my heart was beating so fast, and you could tell everybody else's was, too."
Taisha Butler, 13, was one of a few who hadn't heard of Key prior to meeting him.
"It's just like everyone in here is having the feeling for me, obviously," she said.
But she enjoyed his visit, especially when he smiled and spoke to the class.
"It was very professional," she said. "You gotta stay smiling. He was fun to listen to."
The message: As part of his visit, Key appeared live on the school's morning broadcast.
He spoke about staying positive, following your dreams, not letting criticism get you down and learning from past mistakes, said 8th-grader Eryn McBride, 13.
"It's true - you have to learn from mistakes," she said. "And I'm trying to take that into action and use it more."
As Key performed card tricks for students in each grade - and as they subsequently scrambled to bring him loose leaf paper, binders and even their own limbs for him to sign - his father, Steven, looked on with pride.
Running on just four or so hours of sleep, the Keys, from Moorpark, Calif., were enjoying their day off before heading to Florida as part of the seven-week tour, he said. His son wanted to meet his younger fans who might not have had the chance to see him perform or meet him, he said.
"He just wants to be able to connect," Steven said. "We won't have this opportunity everywhere we go."
Growing up, Collins was bullied, as many kids are, and he wants to spread a positive message to other young people and encourage them to strive for their personal best, he said - and it's not something that "America's Got Talent" set up, either.
"This is part of our agenda, not the show's," Steven said.
-Reach Mollie Durkin at email@example.com.