Beyond STEM: The Arts Thrive at Charter

Beyond STEM: The Arts Thrive at Charter

Beyond STEM: The Arts Thrive at Charter

Author Hannah Biener

The Cab Calloway Wind Ensemble performs during their annual Winter Concert. Photo courtesy of wstidman via Youtube

 

All eyes are trained on the conductor’s baton, hovering in the air above the ensemble. With a quick jerk of his arm, the conductor begins the piece, and melodies blossom from the group of students in the music room.

Trumpets, clarinets, and tubas make their voices heard in the Cab Calloway Wind Ensemble, yet among the gaggle of t-shirts and jeans are quite a few polos and khakis. Charter students compose a sizable fraction of the band, of which senior Emily Wood has been a member since freshman year.

“It’s a blessing that there’s a relationship between Cab and Charter,” she says, referring to the symbiotic set-up where Charter students can participate in art classes offered at Cab Calloway.

Despite Charter’s math and science focus, many students further develop their artistic passions through this relationship. The guidance department estimates that between 100 and 120 students are enrolled in Cab Calloway arts classes.

Senior Mary Langseder has also taken advantage of the two schools’ partnership. She currently takes AP Studio Art, and describes the layout of the class as: “For the first few months of the class, we do breadth pieces; you just do a lot of art. The second half of the year you focus on your concentration. You choose something that captures your interest.”

Her idea for her portfolio is unique. She says, “I chose how koi become dragons—each of my 12 pieces will have a koi fish.” When asked how often she practices her talent, she replies, “Art is everywhere, and I do it whenever I can.

The arts are fulfilling for many Charter students. Emily, who plays clarinet, observes that “[a] lot of the things you learn from playing an instrument carry into the rest of your life.” 

For instance, she mentions how playing clarinet helps develop her work ethic in school. “You should be practicing at a slow tempo, in the same way that you should take time to understand whatyou’re learning instead of blindly memorizing information.”

Charter students are known for their aptitude in many academic competitions, but this record of success also extends to the artistic realm. Emily was ranked first-chair clarinet in Delaware All State Senior Band, and Mary won an Honorable Mention for her artwork at the Regional Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. 

Even without taking a class at Cab Calloway, students have artistic opportunities available at Charter. Senior Kelly Mi leads the art club, a group of students who meet during Activity Period on Thursdays to do “art-related activities” (as she describes them)

“The main thing is, after school, we paint murals in classrooms,” Kelly says. The club’s handiwork is featured in Mr. Messinger’s, Mrs. Payne’s, and most recently Mr. Darone’s rooms among other beautiful additions that help add color to the learning environment. 

The arts continue to thrive at the Charter School of Wilmington. Students have a number of opportunities to grow as artists, musicians, and performers. As French artist Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

 

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