Challenge Charter Middle School is PERFORMING ARTS!
With the start of the 2017-18 Academic year, the new Performing Arts Department was formed. The department is an expansion of the excellent music education and artistic programs that have been a part of Challenge Charter Schools since 2010. Founder and CEO, Dr. Les Mullings had a vision to offer additional opportunities for scholars beyond music through dance, theater and stage craft. During the summer, he appointed Ms. Nadine Sutherland as the Performing Arts Director. In September 2017, auditions were held for 7th and 8th Graders to determine interests and talent. Early in 2018, weekly meetings began for 6th Grade scholars. The Performing Arts Scholars did special performances throughout the year for events such as Black History Assembly and the first 8th Grade Graduation. Some of our scholars continued their dance training through the summer at the Alvin Ailey Summer Dance Camp (see news coverage at this link.)
The program is conducted as an after school offering two times a week. Plans to provide classes as part of the regular curriculum are in development. She has been conducting mock auditions to prepare 8th Grade scholars who are pursuing placement in Performing Arts High Schools. Sutherland has also begun to work on strategic partnerships with arts organizations such as the Alvin Ailey Arts in Education program and Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center to provide scholars audition opportunities and professional training.
The mission of Challenge Charter Schools Performing Arts Department is to prepare scholars, who have strong personal interest in the performing arts. In an ever-changing and competitive world, our aim is to equip scholars with the tools to pursue higher education and to make wise choices with regards to their future professions. We will help scholars discover and develop their unique skills and talents through an intense, integrated arts and academic program while maintaining the high standards we already require. Our approach will place an emphasis on critical thinking and a whole-person developmental strategy to learning.
The Challenge Charter Schools Performing Arts Program is a high quality educational program for scholars in grades 6-8. Our intent is to develop the whole person through a curriculum that integrates the performing arts and college preparatory academics. We aim to develop our scholars academically, artistically and socially. Our hopes are when they leave Challenge, our scholars will be independent, cooperative, responsible and creative individuals with a lifelong interest and ability in learning and the arts. We believe that these skills and qualities will prepare them to pursue further educational goals and help cultivate the mindset of being responsible and active global citizens.
Our goals related to our Vision:
- With an understanding that the arts in education often results in better academic performance in students, we have made a conscious decision to develop the Challenge Charter Schools Performing Arts Program. We intend to further integrate the arts at all grade levels, and in addition, enhance the performing arts in the Far Rockaway community and greater New York City.
- With the combination of our Performing Arts Program and our strong academic program, we aim to facilitate the unearthing, developing and nurturing of our scholars’ potentials and talents.
- The Performing Arts Program will empower greatness in our scholars through collaboration, dynamic partnerships, and rich experiences in a world-class learning environment.
- The Performing Arts Program will offer a healthy environment where scholars recognize their self-worth. It will allow opportunities for healthy self-expressions while emphasizing the importance of focus, self-control, and working together towards a communal end goal.
- The Performing Arts Program will enrich our surrounding environments by not only providing performances and artistic events for our scholars, but for our families, and the community.
Dance Challenge Dance
We welcomed our families and friends to experience some "Edutainment" on Friday, May 18th at 10 a.m. as our 7th and 8th Grade Scholars had their end-of-the-year recital revealing the great progress our students have made through the Alvin Ailey Education & Community Program partnership so far this year.
Performing Arts Director, Ms. Nadine Sutherland commented on the performance saying, "The success of the first Middle School’s dance recital is indicative of the energy of our institution. We are indeed aiming for excellence in all our endeavors. Our scholars represented their classes, their grade and in general our school with grace and aplomb."
We welcomed our 3rd through 8th Grade families to be a part of our Premiere Performing Arts Show on Wednesday, December 13th at Far Rockaway High School. The show featured music from our 3rd through 6th graders and 7th and 8th Graders in the musical Finding Frosty by Shereen Brown.
Finding Frosty featured well-known characters such as Frosty the Snowman, Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer, Scrooge and the Grinch in a brand new story with music and dance.
Musical selections such as "Pure Imagination" and "Let it Be" were performed by the 3rd through 5th Graders while the evening finale featured a combined Chorus singing a lively version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The choirs were directed by Music Banks (6-8) and Music Johnson (3-5).