Dancing, drumming, design: middle school students create at Winthrop University
For the 25th consecutive year, Winthrop University has welcomed gifted and talented students in grades six through eight for an artistic summer filled with music, dance, design, drama and photography.
The approximately 300 students, chosen during tryouts from the Clover, Fort Mill, Lancaster, Rock Hill and York school districts, are currently spending the three weeks in the ST-ARTS program working with more than 50 talented artists and musicians from Winthrop, public schools and the S.C. Arts Commission Artists Roster. As part of the ST-ARTS curriculum, students study their “major” arts area and spend time exploring a “minor” art interest as well. They also have the chance to attend arts performances.
Since its inception in 1989, the program has served more than 8,500 middle school students.
According to an article in the Rock Hill Herald, one aspect of ST-ARTS that sets it apart from arts education in schools is the specialized material. Theater students are able to delve into directing and puppetry, while music students explore African drumming and music technology.
At this time of year, Winthrop University’s classrooms are filled with creative middle-schoolers hard at work.
This summer marks the 25th anniversary of the university’s ST-ARTS program, where students in sixth through eighth grades spend three weeks exploring the arts. Over the years, more than 8,500 students have participated in the program.
ST-ARTS participants audition for and participate in one of the four major arts areas: drama, dance, visual arts and music.
“The program is amazing,” said Mary Shockley, a drama teacher. “Arts programs like this one are important because they keep the kids in schools and out of trouble. It helps them express themselves.”
She said that many students find a home in the community that the arts offer.