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State of the Arts

Educators have long recognized the value of music, art, drama and writing for students' creative development and academic success. Yet the arts remain squeezed by tight budgets and test-driven performance standards. This series highlights efforts to protect and promote school arts programs.

Catch a falling star & put it in your heart

In a visit to Valley View Elementary School, Patricia Polacco, the award-winning author of over 100 children’s books, told students a true story about wishing on a falling star -- or wishing for a better world...

GRCC to host summer camp with musicians who mash classical, popular genres

ESME band members are challenging middle and high school students to blend modern and classical music during intensive summer experience...

Rocking Out with Strings, Awesomely

Mitchell Evink couldn't seem to help playing air cello as he sat on the floor of the band room and watched a video featuring the high school's rock fusion orchestra. As air cello goes, Mitchell's playing was pretty "lit," as...

Art Award Tradition Continues for 35th Year of Excellence

Northview High School sophomore Nick Ensing's drawing depicts a colorful, detailed royal court, staffed by doe-eyed kings, queens and jesters. Junior Ellie Haveman's photo is of a girl's face, simple, shadowy and pure. Both pieces are Representative's Choice winners for ArtFest...
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Frosty the Snowman, in concert

Students from Kettle Lake Elementary in Caledonia sing "Frosty the Snowman" in English and Spanish, from their recent holiday concert...

Drama’s back, and students are ready to act

After five years without a program and, now, with a renovated auditorium, a stockpile of props pulled from storage and two enthusiastic new hires, Kelloggsville High School theater has been resurrected...

Students Explore Hip-Hop as ‘Something that You Live’

Matthew Duncan lightly shakes a can of spray paint and, like the serious aerosol artist he is, deftly sprays an immaculate orange “o” on a canvas. And so begins a lesson on graffiti – or more properly called “writing,” he...

‘From absolutely nothing to this full production’

It was three months before the spring play. There was no script and no plot, just the shadow of personalities students would soon embody as their own creations...

Adding Sugar to Education’s Cake

As a young mother new to the district in the early 1970s, Candace Hinshaw remembers hearing about a magazine sale at Pine Ridge Elementary to raise money to bring in outside performers. "They brought in an individual who was doing...

Speaking Poetry Helps Students Share their Hearts

Katie Mitchell could have picked from a range of interesting topics to share with classmates, but she choose the one closest to her heart. The Crossroads Middle School eighth-grader picked tragedy. As part of a spoken-word poetry workshop held at the...

‘It’s Incredible, the Opportunities We Get’

Jazz at Byron Center High School has always been about swinging hard and playing big, and hitting the smooth, cool notes just right. So too at Northview High. But it's not about earning a grade or even competing for band...

Settling Conflict by Settling Minds with Connective Art

With colorful petals radiating from a bright orange center, the mandala Circle of Art rug represents the universe and all its connectivity. For members of the high school's National Art Honor Society, it's also a way of connecting with a...
Art teacher Amber Warren shows, from left, Alexiana Ochoa and Alexis Odelin, how to make a name monster

Necessity, Not Luxury

Art teacher Amber Warren sees the difference in students who have had experience in art and those who haven't. The latter have little faith in their artistic abilities, she said. "They are not confident." After offering art at reduced levels...

An Arts School Takes the Stage

Baton in hand, Jaeda Selden led fellow second-graders Kamellah Kidd and Lizzariah Robertson in practicing a song from “The Wiz.” Taking a break for a reporter, they chatted excitedly about the hit musical they would soon present on the...

‘You Find Yourself Striving to be Greater at Something’

Noah Miller and Heather Price, both 2016 district graduates, are members of the Western Michigan University Marching Bronco Band and got to play at the Cotton Bowl game on Jan. 2. Here's what they had to say about what...

Creating their own Christmas story

Fifth grade students at Pine Island Elementary put their acting skills to work for Christmas play...
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