S.C. Governor’s School
for the Arts & Humanities turns 20
The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the opening of its public residential high school for the arts in Greenville.
To kick off a year of celebrations, the school recently held a Founder’s Day Convocation honoring founder and first president Virginia Uldrick (right), a legend across the state for her work in arts education.
Uldrick established the Governor’s School’s one-of-a-kind residential high school in 1999, after 10 years of working with legislators, generating support and fundraising to realize her dream: a tuition-free high school that provides pre-professional arts training and a nationally recognized academic education to South Carolina’s artistically talented students.
“Her vision was one that we now know to be a model for public education, where the excellence in the arts and academics that she envisioned ultimately places each of our students among the most successful young professionals in the arts and all professions throughout our state and across the nation,” said Governor’s School President Cedric Adderley. He added, “Had it not been for her persistent pursuit of excellence and her vision, so many people would have never had the opportunity to pursue their passion in the arts or pursue the level of a quality education that they so much deserve.”
A firm foundation for arts education, bolstered by then-Governor Riley
Prior to the Governor’s School’s residential high school program, Uldrick established a five-week summer program under the school’s former name, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts. This program was signed into legislation in 1980 by the state’s governor at the time, Richard W. Riley, who later became the longest-serving U.S. Secretary of Education.
As the keynote speaker of the school’s Founder’s Day Convocation, Riley stated that Uldrick “was an enormous force for good in South Carolina and this country.” He also said, “I’m so proud of the success of the wonderful Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities,” and encouraged students to “pause a few minutes and think about this unique opportunity that the state of South Carolina is providing for you. Think about the wonderful leadership and talented faculty making possible your quality education and talent.”
Alumni impact arts education across South Carolina
Many Governor’s School alumni are continuing Uldrick’s legacy by giving back to younger generations through arts advocacy and education. Some of those alums are now educators in South Carolina. Among them are Jim LeBlanc, class of 2003, who is the principal of Saluda River Academy for the Arts; Andre North, class of 2005, who is the Director of Bands at Hanahan Middle School and assistant director of bands at Hanahan High School; Brooke Falk Permenter, class of 2002, who serves on the faculty at the College of Charleston Honors College; John Ott, class of 2009, who is a gifted and talented teacher in the Orangeburg Consolidated School District; and Stephanie Cureton, class of 2007, who is the director of English Theatre Arts in Greenville.
Alumni have gained national success in the arts and beyond
Many alumni have made names for themselves in their profession on a national scale, thanks to the elevated level of arts training that Uldrick set the groundwork for and remains the Governor’s School’s standard today. Graduates who are bringing acclaim to South Carolina include Patina Miller, a Tony Award-winning actress from Pageland who has held major roles in television series, films, and on Broadway; Rachel Inman, from Greenville, who is the UX Design Lead for Google Maps; Jonathan Spigner, also from Greenville, is a lead dancer in the Hong Kong Ballet; Jedd Rosche, from Beaufort, is the senior congress editor for CNN Politics; and Maria Fabrizio, from Columbia, whose Wordless News illustrations have been commissioned or published by NPR.com, O Magazine, and the New York Times.
While the Governor’s School honors Uldrick and reflects on how her fierce determination has made a life-changing impact on thousands of students’ lives, the school happily anticipates what’s to come. “As we celebrate our first 20 years, we look forward to the next 20 years and the continued impact this school will have on young artists in South Carolina as they pursue their dreams,” said Chad Prosser, Governor’s School board chair, during the convocation.
More 20th anniversary events statewide
A student showcase will be hosted in Hilton Head on Nov. 7, 2019 and a celebratory reception will be held in Spartanburg on Dec. 5. In the spring, special events include an anniversary reception in Columbia on March 4, 2020, and a student and alumni showcase at the Peace Center in Greenville on April 7, 2020. Find out more about these upcoming events at https://www.scgsah.org/calendar/events.
About S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities
Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. In the public, residential high school, students refine their talents in a master-apprentice community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students, and SCGSAH serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools. Visit SCGSAH.org for more information.