With the role of performing arts in education being diminished, a Jackson public school has received national recognition for its dedication to the arts. Power APAC earned a Kennedy Center Award for being a national leader in making the arts an essential part of education. A distinction shared with only three other schools in the entire country.
Conventional isn't the corner stone at Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex. Through a series of rhythmic chants, theater students are learning about their vocal range. Theater is one of the many performing arts students are exposed to.
"A period of nine weeks our academic students will circulate through each arts department," said theater teacher Japonica Brown.
Like all teachers at the school, Brown is passionate about the APAC approach. Compliment the traditional curriculum with dance and visual, music and theater arts.
Brown says, "Even if they don't audition to specifically be a part of a department, they have a world class education that's not only in the books."
A measuring stick to see how far this technique is taking students is evolving every day. Look no further than APAC product Lauren White, who graduated from Mississippi State last spring.
She told us the impact APAC had on her. "My personality, my confidence, my creativity, it has touched every aspect of my life."
White performed at a ceremony last Friday when the academy was presented with a $2,000 dollar check as a Kennedy Center for Performing Arts National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award. One of four schools in the nation to receive the honor.
Confirming to parents of children in the program something they already knew.
"It's allowed them to exhibit great confidence in themselves, to be comfortable with themselves in front of an audience," said Debra Hendricks-Gibbs.
Hendricks-Gibbs has had two children in the program and she says the only shame is the fact that more students can't experience the program.
Due to budget constraints, Power APAC can only accept a limited amount of kids. For now, parents who have seen their children blossom can hope for an expansion creating room for more stories, such as White's.
"Dance is my life, so I got my passion, my heart, my everything came from this school."
Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.