VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – The performing arts are great additions to standard curriculum. But the reality is everyone can’t afford dance and piano lessons for their kids.
The teachers and administrators at Sherman Avenue Elementary in Vicksburg are making sacrifices to provide that, plus more.
“I find joy, especially when a child comes in and says ‘Ive never played a piano before. I don’t know how to do this.’ And I can show them ‘yes you can’,” piano teacher Janet Sims said.
The piano lessons are free. And so are the dance classes.
“A lot of these students unfortunately may not have the opportunity to take dance classes outside of school. And so with us they’re able to come to school. They get to be creative. They get to explore movement. And they get to have fun, obviously. And I’ve had a lot of fun doing it,” dance teacher Elizabeth Ogle said.
The school is made up of about 400 kindergartners, first graders, and second graders.
About 100 of them are participating in the classes. But there’s a waiting list!
They’re getting to school thirty minutes early to learn the keys, and sacrificing recess to dance.
The vision could’ve stopped there in the classroom, but Principal Tameka Davis took this new performing arts initiative even further.
Davis got a $17,000 amphitheater built right near the playground.
How’s it funded? She says the teachers helped her free up money that would be used for substitutes.
“So they took a stance and they were like well if one of us have to be absent, either myself or the teacher assistant will make sure the instruction goes on. And that’s what they did. And that’s how we came up with the money,” Davis said.
The initiative is helping the students learn new talents, and life lessons.
The school’s first community event at the amphitheater is on September 20th.
The school will host a talent show and karaoke. The community is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs.
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