A Popular Identity of CHS

Ella-Mae Price and Ella Love

     CHS is creative. A popular identity placed on the school by students and the surrounding community is one that encourages a variety of arts, including music, visual arts, theatre, and public speaking. How accurate is this perceived image? Do the arts at CHS truly foster creativity in a way that is inclusive and meaningful to students? Students gave KTR their thoughts. 

     The theatre program at CHS is highly renowned for its success in films and live performances. Despite challenges in past years revolving around the pandemic, it continues to be a growing community that caters to the varying interests of students involved. Roxie Beebe-Center, a senior at CHS and the Secretary of the TheatreCHS Thespian Society, explains that “…theatre in nature is a creative thing so it does foster lots of innovation. I think people really can express themselves as they create characters and interpret characters that other people have written […] it’s really valuable to be in a space where creativity is emphasized because it causes people to think about things in more artistic ways.” When asked about CHS’ perceived image, Roxie Beebe-Center explains, “I would say that we have very strong arts […] I think it’s good in that it draws people to CHS who have an interest in arts which means our arts programs are getting more people each year who are interested in pursuing things like band, orchestra, and theatre…” In leaving CHS, she hopes to see a continuation of opportunities regarding leadership in theatre: “I think one of the most valuable things for me and for a few of my friends have been student directing opportunities.” Additionally, she states, “I hope that we stay involved in competitions like VTA and VHSL because I think they’re very valuable for college auditions and for helping people who have a competitive edge get involved in theater in a way that is both artistically valuable and sort of competitively rewarding.” 

     Public Speaking is a class offered at CHS that teaches the art of speech writing and performance in a variety of styles. CHS senior Ella Farina completed both Public Speaking 1 & 2 in past years and describes her experience in the class. “I took public speaking 1 and 2 and that is one of my most favorite classes here at CHS. We did a lot of projects that can really cater to what you’re interested in” When asked about a favorite project she worked on, Ella Farina mentions a Ted Talk, “…we got to choose any topic to write like a 5-10 min. Ted Talk on and then we got to perform it at CHS to a bunch of parents and friends who came. It was just a really great way to kind of pick something that’s really unique to you and explain why you care about it.” Not only is Public Speaking a creative endeavor, but it is also highly useful beyond the classroom, which Ella Farina emphasizes in her response to the future of the class: “I am very passionate that public speaking is a skill that every single person will use.” She mentions the value of developing skills in public speaking, including in job and college interviews. As a senior, she notes, “I think it would be really interesting as CHS moves forward, it becomes a more popular class that’s kind of embedded into core classes…”

     The visual arts department at CHS contributes largely to the creativity that emerges from the school. When asked about its identity, junior Rose O’Shea responded in agreement with its commonly perceived image as a highly artistic school, also noting,“… I think CHS is largely known for its fine arts (theatre, orchestra, choir, etc,) and less for its visual arts. Personally, I wish the visual arts received the same amount of funding and recognition, but overall CHS’s reputation as a school that fosters creativity was what made me so excited about coming here.” Rose O’Shea discusses her experiences in art classes during her time at CHS, explaining, “In art 1 and 2, I felt like my creativity was somewhat restricted by the strict project outline. Additionally, we never focused on learning how to use any particular medium, so it felt like I was just staying stagnant in my artistic process rather than building off of past experiences.” Despite this, she adds, “I feel like studio art has really allowed for a lot more experimentation and expression that I’ve really enjoyed so far. It has allowed me to make art that feels meaningful.”

     The music programs, including band, choir, and orchestra, at CHS, are especially vital to its artistic identity. Aly Seidman, (Senior) stated that “It[s perceived image] helps to develop the arts program when people come into CHS and the arts are very accepting and anyone can join for the most part.” As a member of the marching band, she attests to the creativity that is fostered within the band and says, “We also do a lot of sight reading and improv which is based a lot on how you perceive and process information…and often puts people out of their comfort zone…” which “encourages creativity and new thinking.” 

     The creative identity of CHS can be accredited to the vast array of arts available and the students that participate to make the programs flourish.