Academy to Nurture Young Artist's Talents Larkin Addition Gives Students, Teachers an Exciting Opportunity
Smith, Larry, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Larry Smith Daily Herald Staff Writer
It will be a place where students with artistic talent will be given the tools and instruction they need to further their dreams.
The Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Larkin High School in Elgin is one of four academies opened this week in Elgin Area Unit District 46.
If pictures of the High School for the Performing Arts in New York, on which the movie "Fame" was based, come to mind, that is not far off.
With the arts academy, District 46 officials hope to give students who want artistic careers a strong foundation during the four-year program.
The academy will feature four disciplines: dance, drama, music and visual arts. There will be classes in areas such as jazz dance, ballet, modern dance, theater, story writing and music.
For Carole Smentowski, attending the arts academy may be just what she needs to pursue a career as a concert violinist.
Carole, 14, has been playing the violin since the age of 3 and believes she will gain a depth of knowledge about music and fine arts in general by attending the academy.
"I'm very excited," she said.
She said she is looking forward to starting in a program that is different than any she has had before.
"I was kind of bored with the regular kind of teaching," she said.
Carole's friend, Megan Wandell, also will attend the academy to focus on a career in acting.
Megan said she wanted to attend the academy to explore all of her options in life.
"I'm extremely excited," she said. "I'm going to meet so many interesting people. It just seems like it's going to be very interesting."
The arts academy's classes are being held in a fine arts addition built onto Larkin in a $16 million renovation project during the last school year. The addition features a 714-seat auditorium, classrooms, rehearsal rooms and a stage.
Sandi Buchaheit, who will teach drama in the academy as well as the school, said she is glad to be starting the program.
"I cannot tell you how excited I am," she said. "I am so excited for the students to have this opportunity."
Being one of the teachers in the academy will allow Buchaheit to spread her passion for the arts to students who have expressed similar inclinations.
"I believe in art as a lifestyle, Buchaheit said. "I believe that fine arts is something we take with us the rest of our lives."
Buchaheit said the academy staff has worked hard during the summer refining the curriculum for the year.
"We have an exciting group of people to work with," she said. "They're all enthusiastic and excited."
Once completed with the program, the students will be prepared to go on to further training in a professional school or college. …