This year, Kelowna’s Studio 9 Independent School of the Arts will give one lucky young person the chance to pursue their artistic dreams.
The school is giving out an enrollment scholarship for upcoming school year, and all any young person has to do to win is tell the school why they want to attend.
Studio 9 is an arts-focused school that allows young people’s artistic talents to flourish in a way they almost never could at a traditional school.
It focuses heavily on arts education, placing students in nine different arts courses each year, while incorporating the arts into a curriculum covering the traditional suite of high school subjects.
“You’re not here just to dance; you’re not here just to act. Taking all of the arts together gives young artists a rock-solid foundation, while allowing them to build on and better understand their strongest arts,” says Studio 9 CEO and teacher Mike Guzzi.
But that doesn’t mean students aren’t getting a robust academic education. Many assume a school like Studio 9 would be easier than a traditional school, but Guzzi says “it’s actually way harder.”
“Yes, there’s art in your life every day, and that’s what’s exciting, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do the work,” he says.
Zoe Marie Welch is one of the Studio 9 students that did do that work.
After putting her nose to the grindstone she graduated from the school this year, a full year early, and is now pursuing a career in acting and music in Vancouver.
She says her years at Studio 9 fundamentally shaped who she is today.
“I definitely felt way more prepared going out into the world because of the school,” she says.
Welch says that, not only are the teachers at the school amazing (“they’re highly credited, they know what they’re doing, and they’re fun, too”), but they went above and beyond for her and her classmates, encouraging them to think critically and express themselves in a way that profoundly affected her.
“If you go to the school, you’re really allowed to express your individuality. It’s really nice to go somewhere and be encouraged to express yourself, and not have to try and conform to what everyone else is doing,” she says.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else, and if I did I wouldn’t feel the same about school. I’m so happy that I went there.”
Guzzi says that, through the essay contest, he hopes to give a young person who might not otherwise be able to attend the school the same kinds of experiences Welch had.
He encourages any kid with a passion for the arts to submit a short writeup outlining why they want to attend Studio 9. Even if you’re not the most talented singer or dancer, he says, you are still welcome.
“That fit is a student that really wants to work hard, but loves the arts. And you don’t have to be the best at them, you just have to love them and appreciate them,” Guzzi says.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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