Ten youngsters from St. John have won scholarships to attend the St. John School of the Arts (SJSA) for the 2018-2019 school year.
After auditioning before a panel of judges on July 14, Ke’Andra Hall won the gold medal for music; Jada Jn Phillip won the gold for dance; Ky’Lah Thomas won the gold for art.
“Every student put on an excellent performance,” said Jeune Provost, SJSA director of curriculum and instruction. “Many of the students that participated are not typically ‘showy.’ It was nice to see these students shine in a new way.”
Gold scholarship winners qualify for 75 percent of the cost of private lessons for the year or participation in two group classes.
Many of the students attended the school for the first time through an innovative, extended day program implemented last October. That program offered free classes in music, drama, dance and art to all children attending the Julius E. Sprauve School (JESS), the island’s only public school. JESS was forced to adopt a split sessions schedule to accommodate all students following extensive damage to classrooms from Hurricane Irma.
“Over the last several months, I have seen these students grow and blossom,” said Provost. “It is really rewarding to see the transformative power of the arts.”
Yamilette Diaz-Reyes and Delisha Hill both qualified for silver scholarship awards for their dance auditions. All of the winners of the bronze awards — De’Neicia Baxter, Nitta George, Kahmari Thomas and Dajia Hill — also auditioned for dance. Nicole Jimenez-Pepen won honorable mention for dance.
The scholarships are named in honor of Ruth “Sis” Frank, who co-founded the school in the early 1980s and continued to guide it until her death in 2010.
“St. John School of the Arts is always looking for creative and innovative programs as well as faculty who bring positive energy and a skill set that promotes healthy learning for children,” said Kim Wild, SJSA executive director.
“We will never turn away those children who are deserving and wanting these arts experiences. We continue to fundraise and develop sponsorships for our students and classes,” said Wild.
Registration for the 2018-19 year is ongoing. In the upcoming year, the school intends to offer programs in partnership with the Julius E. Sprauve School, the Gifft Hill School and the St. John Christian Academy. The school also offers private lessons and classes for adults.