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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Celebrate the Arts assembly presents talent, creativity of art students

The band and orchestra play at the arts assembly on Dec. 1.
Photo by Gurnoor Sodhi
The band and orchestra play at the arts assembly on Dec. 1.

The annual Celebrate the Arts assembly took place on Dec. 1, 2023. Performers included the school’s band, orchestra and the acapella group, Acatonics, with videos in between featuring the visual arts classes like photography and fashion. “The Celebrate the Arts assembly has been happening long before I arrived at Wootton, perhaps in 2000, more than 20 years ago,” art teacher Quan Duong said.

The Celebrate the Arts assembly is an opportunity for current art students to showcase their talent and celebrate artistic expression. “The assembly allows our students an opportunity to perform for peers and helps our students develop confidence for future performances,” art department resource teacher Rebecca O’Neill said. “We also aim to expose our student body to a variety of music and art in hopes to provide an enjoyable and inspiring experience for all students.”

Beyond our school audience, the assembly drew an expansive crowd of over 600 students, counselors and administrators from both Frost and Cabin John middle schools. “It is a fantastic opportunity for the rising students to see what types of things are being produced in our classes,” music teacher Carolyn Herman said. “The audience was very engaging and perceptive.”

Executing such a show can take thorough preparation and planning. “For the art slideshow animation, it usually takes a month to put it all together. The advanced art students would brainstorm a storyline, art students volunteer to act out the parts, and each student animator would spend countless hours outside of art class to animate the scenes,” Duong said.

On the music side, the pieces played at the assembly are chosen as early as June. The music students have been working diligently since then to deliver a memorable performance. “We are very grateful to [the Instructional Leadership Team] and our administration for the opportunity to showcase our students, as they work hard in our classes but they are also academically sound and they participate in a multitude of other activities,” music teacher Susan Eckerle said.

The art department works hard to ensure that their students get a wide range of art experiences. Beyond the assembly, art students are able to benefit from a variety of electives, such as fashion, ceramics and photography. Additionally, they are able to go on field trips such as to museums. “The only improvement I can think of for the art department is that there are not more of us to teach more classes. The popularity of our art classes means that classrooms are at full capacity,” art teacher Unsil Kim said. “But we do what we can to make our spaces as safe as possible and conducive to artistic development of all of our talented students.”

However, the lack of funding for the department can cause issues. “It is always a struggle to acquire the needed instruments for our large ensembles. The PTSA and the Patrons of the Arts have provided the most funds for the purchase of our new instruments, and we are very grateful for their support,” Eckerle said.

Students can get more involved in the arts at school. “We offer a variety of clubs. The National Art Honor Society and The P.A.T.S. (Patriot Art for Teachers and Staff) club are examples,” Kim said. “Our rooms are also open during Advisory for any students interested in taking art and are always welcome to come into any of our classes to see the work being done as well as to ask questions about possibly taking an art class.”

The assembly will be a memory held by both performers and the audience as a way for art students to showcase their creativity and effort. “Even though it has been many decades since I was in high school, one of my fondest memories was being able to showcase my artwork to my friends and classmates to see,” Duong said. “The experience of participating in an event like this will leave a lasting impression on them for years to come.”

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About the Contributor
Naeha Muralikrishnan, arts editor
Naeha Muralikrishnan is an arts editor in her second year on the Common Sense staff. In her free time, she enjoys Indian classical dance, coding, and reading. You can find her on Instagram @_naeha.
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