|Posted by cydnee hosker on January 9, 2015 at 10:40 AM|
Good evening parents & students,
I think it’s only fair to warn you that public speaking is not my thing. Having said that, I also want you to know that I volunteered to speak tonight on behalf of the Integrated Arts program, that’s how strongly I feel about it.
My daughter is a completely new and improved version of who we knew she could be. Elementary school was challenging to say the least. Ten years with the same people, all changing in different directions, was an exercise in keeping her head above water. Enter the Integrated Arts program here at TASS. We started coming to the open house when she was in grade 7, yes, we were a little anxious and had high expectations. Let me tell you, the program has lived up to and well exceeded those expectations. My memory of the first open house we came to was that of an IA student’s parent who spoke, much like I am tonight, about her son’s transformation once in the IA program here at TASS. It was like I had written her speech for her. It was parallel to what my daughter and our family was going through. The next year we came back and what stood out to me was the grade 9 IA student volunteers at the open house. They were incredibly friendly, expressing their own individual styles and very comfortable in their own skin. At the age of 14 that is quite an accomplishment. I remember thinking that if my daughter got into the program it would be like “coming home” for her because she’d be with likeminded people.
So here we are, grade 9 IA student & family. We get her first report card and I tease her with “whose report card is this”? We always knew she had academic potential but as I mentioned, in elementary school she was busy treading water and guarding her individuality. I digress. Well before that, she was springing out of bed in the morning, ready to take on the day with anticipation. New friends abound, confidence in herself, loving her teachers and generally looking forward to the day at school. I attribute the majority of this newfound sense of self worth to the IA program. I believe it really lets these students celebrate their uniqueness, explore the possibilities outside their comfort zone and fearlessly express their creative spirits. I speak not only for myself but a couple of other parents who, at the recent grade 9 IA production, mirrored my sentiments that their children have also flourished so far in the program.
In summary, she is happy. That provides a better platform for learning and expanding their horizons. Even in her non-art classes, like science & French, she is succeeding. Perhaps those teachers understand the IA students and their “outside the box” way of approaching life too? Whatever the reason, that comfort level seems to carry through to all subjects.
I joked to her English teacher at parent teacher interviews that - it’s like the mother ship has called her home - and for that I am eternally grateful.