Now in its third year, the festival welcomed 8th-12th Grade students from seven schools: Christchurch School, Congressional School, Foxcroft School, Hargrave Military Academy, Millwood School, The New Community School and Virginia Episcopal School. Six Collegiate students also participated in the all-day schedule of music, dance, acting, art and writing workshops. Collegiate teachers Christine Hoffman (Lower School music), Kara Priddy (Middle and Upper School dance), Stacy Dudley (Middle and Upper School dance), Will Dunlap (Upper School English) and Jere Williams (Upper School art) served as presenters for the event, leading sessions on African drumming, modern dance, writing, laser cutting and printmaking, respectively.
Head of School Steve Hickman, who was instrumental in bringing the festival to Collegiate, was thrilled to welcome the students to campus.
“Collegiate has a long-standing and deeply-rooted commitment to the arts,” he said. “So it is our privilege to host young people and their teachers from our VAIS partner schools who share this common passion.”
Amanda Eaddy, a published author and teacher at St. Andrew’s School in Richmond, facilitated the “Picture This!” writing session, in which students were asked to visualize their words by using pictures to come up with a story.
“I want the students to know that they can be the best storytellers in the world,” she said.
Kara Whelan, a student from Congressional School, said she thought the festival was a great chance to connect with other students with similar interests while learning more about the arts.
“It’s cool that we get to choose what we want to do and meet people who share our same passions,” she said.
Collegiate 9th Grader D’yan Robinson agreed as she headed to her fourth and final session of the day.
“I really like the variety of activities we can do and that I can apply myself in areas I didn’t think were my strengths,” she said.
Mike Boyd, Collegiate’s Director of Performing Arts, said he hoped students attending the festival ended the day exposed to the great teachers in the VAIS network and that they learned new perspectives, not just on their specific area of the arts, but on the interconnectivity of the arts.
“Hopefully, this festival gives students and teachers a chance to grow our network, learn from one another for years to come and find ways to connect and share information or methods,” he said. “It is always great when people from other communities come together and immerse themselves in what they love to do with other people who share that passion. We may enter the day as strangers, but the goal is to leave as friends.”