Students with the Performing and Visual Arts Magnet School presented Spring Showcase 2017 Thursday. The students took the stage at Mount Vernon High School for two performances before packed houses. The showcase featured band and orchestra performances, a visual arts presentation, musical theater, and dance.
Director of Arts & Gifted and Talented Evelyn Collins said the Mount Vernon program is unique in Westchester County and has the benefit of teachers who are practicing artists themselves.
“There’s nothing like this, and as it grows, it can only get better,” Collins said.
“Miss Collins takes us to Broadway shows so we get to experience new things,” said 7th grader Kendall McDowell. “I would like to become a professional dancer, and I’m getting high level training.”
8th grader Yvonne Bryan loves dance and musical theatre and also plays the clarinet and flute.
“I love being a part of this program,” Bryan said. “You are able to express yourself in the arts that you love, and you don’t have to stick to just one major.”
And students in the program believe their experience on stage is helping them achieve great things offstage as well.
“When you have the arts, you become a better overall student,” said 8th grader Najja Grant. “We think deeper and with a broader perspective.”
The performing and visual arts students have a lot to be excited about. They will get their own space when Thornton High School is fully renovated as part of the district’s 20/20 Vision. 200 students in grades 6-9 auditioned to be a part of next year’s program. Plus, Collins thinks Thursday’s performance may have influenced some future students.
“A lot of elementary students at the morning performance were inspired,” Collins said. “We’re building a potential pool for the future.”