The Arts at Emery: Beyond the Classroom

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By Nadia SukulEmery Adult Learning Centre (EALC) has recently introduced a number of extracurricular programs, which are deeply rooted in the arts.Vice Principal Mr. Frankie Halls, a strong advocate of diversity-based programming, is to be credited with the implementation of such programs at EALC.While some of his peers initially responded to his suggestions with protest and reluctance, Mr. Halls pressed on with his programs, slowly introducing a variety of culturally inspired activities during the lunchtime hour.To date, EALC has offered a number of dance styles, including bollywood, salsa, and Afro/hip-hop, as well as band, choir, and African drumming.Students have responded to these programs with great interest and enthusiasm.  These programs embody and reflect the diversity of the student population at EALC.  Moreover, they also serve as a community-building opportunity that enables students to socialize with their peers and learn about cultures that were once foreign to them.From these programs, we, as a school, can extract valuable lessons.  We have seen that the learning experience does not take place exclusively within the walls of the classroom.  Learning and growth are limitless and lifelong; they can certainly take place at any given moment, in any space.We have also learned that initial failures do not necessarily dictate the potential of future success.  Although Mr. Halls was not certain of the success of these programs, he worked tirelessly to ensure the possibility of success.  As we have seen, these programs are indeed a success.At present, EALC is offering salsa dance, Afro/hip-hop dance, band, choir, and African drumming.  Students practice from 12pm until 1pm at various locations around the school.  During Quad 1, many of these groups performed a brief set at a school-wide assembly.In Quad 2, these groups, together with some professional local acts, performed at the Holiday Assembly.  The performances were extremely uplifting and inspiring, especially during the mid-term period when students are feeling a little overwhelmed with course work.The salsa and Afro/hip-hop dancers moved with grace and passion, while the audience looked on, clapping along to the beats.The band, with a noticeably refined and developed sound, performed a few upbeat holiday and winter songs. The choir, featuring Mr. Jackson, sang a fantastic set of harmonious and melodic holiday songs, notably Feliz Navidad, which had the audience singing along and cheering.The African drumming group, accompanied by several dancers, performed a number of rhythmic songs that had even a few staff members dancing on stage.These performances were met with awe and appreciation by students and staff alike.  Such performances have been scheduled for the new year, and are sure to be not only entertaining, but also a symbol of determination and uninhibited growth.If you are an EALC student interested in participating in any of these programs, please listen for the daily announcements, and be sure to check for signs posted outside of the main office.