Spring 2024

Centennial Secondary School Arts Program Enriches Students’ Lives

Kodie Trahan-Guay

Centennial Secondary School Arts Program Enriches Students’ Lives

High school is a time to explore who a person is and what their passions are. Centennial Secondary School has a program for students interested in exploring their passion for the arts. Led by educator Kelly Carrol,l the arts program offers streams for visual arts, music and drama. 

Carroll has been teaching at Centennial for 19 years, most of that time has been in the Arts department. She knows how important the arts are for students. 

The arts nurture empathy, cultural understanding, and innovation. They are vital for enriching lives beyond academia and shaping well-rounded individuals who can navigate the world with imagination and sensitivity. I particularly enjoy teaching in an environment where I can collaborate and co-teach with my colleagues, as it allows for a richer and more diverse learning experience for students. Working together with fellow educators enhances creativity, promotes professional growth, and ultimately benefits the entire school community.”

Carroll says that the Arts Program helps to enrich students’ education. It also builds a sense of belonging, at a time when many students are looking to find their place in the community, the arts can provide that home. 

The arts program gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the arts year-round. They will audition for a major (the artistic discipline the student will focus on for their time during school). The program expands after the first semester to allow students to focus on additional art forms as well and in twelfth grade students can take additional classes like theatre production, drawing, painting, photography, and com-tech  to broaden their experiences. Currently the program has space to accept 25 students per discipline.

“Students should choose this comprehensive arts program for the opportunity to share classes with like-minded peers in an inclusive environment,” says Carroll about the program. “They can engage in arts education year-round, and benefit from a wider range of course offerings in various artistic disciplines. This unique environment fosters creativity, collaboration, and personal growth, providing an unparalleled experience for students dedicated to pursuing their artistic passions.”

Students are able to pursue a “Specialist High Skills Major in Arts and Culture”. This is a ministry funded program that enables students to pursue certifications and a co-op in the arts field, helping to further their prospects for employment after graduation. Carroll doesn’t want students who don’t want to pursue a career in the arts to feel like they can’t join in the program. 

“This program is not exclusively for students aspiring for careers in the arts. It is open to anyone interested in the arts, creativity, and collaborating with like-minded individuals. Whether students aim for a career in the arts or simply enjoy expressing themselves creatively, this program provides valuable opportunities for personal growth, skill development, and exploration within the arts and culture realm.”

Check out Centennial’s website to learn more about when and where auditions will happen.

Tara Geall is an arts student currently pursuing a co-op at the Quinte Arts Council. A twelfth grader who is in the drama major, Geall believes that the program has changed her life for the better.

“The Centennial Secondary School Arts Program got me through my entire highschool career, without it I have no idea where I’d be today. I’m graduating in just a few months so I’ve had some time to reflect on what the last four years of my life meant, where I have been, and now where I’m going; this time has allowed me to realize that I most definitely wasn’t always the biggest fan of school and used to count the days until graduation. Now that it’s almost here it’s so overwhelming. Mixed emotions of happy it happened, sad it’s over, and this feeling of what’s next? The Arts Program was an escape from reality on my worst days, and some memories that I’ll never forget on my best. 

In grade 9 we filmed Law and Order with a fun spin of the characters all being from children’s stories, Grade 10 we did 9 Worst Breakups and Centennial Tonight, Grade 11 was 16 In 10 Minutes or Less and finally my last show in Grade 12 with the program Annie Jr., each show has taught me something new and developed my skills as an actor as well as who I am funny enough playing other people tells you a lot about yourself. To put it lightly and with no exaggeration, it changed my life. 

I was accepted into the program in 2020 as a drama major, some of my best friends to this day I had met in the very first class. To me the Arts program helped me through some of the hardest years of my life, from the ages of 14 to 18 you really begin to flush out who you are and have to figure out your path in life, so to have such a warm and supporting community like that helps with personal growth. Over the last four years I have learned, laughed, cried, and sweated for the arts program and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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