Fine Arts Legacy by Sarah Munné
This spring, fifty-three junior high and high school students competed at a National Fine Arts Competition in Greenville, South Carolina. While our school has proudly had a glowing past of brilliant performances at Nationals, this year happened to be a momentous occasion to our staff and students for a variety of reasons.
Due to the pandemic, even the senior class had not ever had the privilege of attending and competing at Nationals. Yet each student, from seventh graders all the way up, came to competition with an excitement and a vivacious spirit that has ignited not only our student body, but reignited our fine arts staff as well. Senior Rebecca Harrison described her experience this way:
“My experience at Nationals this year was one I will never forget. I went from performing at the state level my freshman and sophomore years, to performing in front of over 3,000 people at Nationals my senior year. The rush of adrenaline, energy, and laughter from thousands of people was one of the biggest highlights of my senior year.”
The legacy of the Killian Hill Christian School Fine Arts Program is integral to the experience of every student on our campus. Many alumni mention that participating in a play or other fine arts event is one of their favorite memories from their time on the Hill! However, the legacy cannot exist without the members of the staff who have given so much of their time and expertise to this program. The trophies are exciting, but the indelible mark left on each student’s life is the truly valuable reward. The character values instilled by these competitions and the character of our staff are of lasting benefit.
“Mrs. Rygh has taught me patience. She is the calm one amidst the chaos. She has taught me how to handle stressful situations with grace.”
“Mr. Habegger has taught me to focus.”
“Miss Parry has taught me discipline on the hard days. She has guided me through thick and thin and showed me not just how to face my obstacles, but how to overcome them.”
“When all hope seems lost, Mrs. Fulbright has taught me to never give up.”
The compassion, joy, and excellence with which these teachers infuse rehearsals is truly beyond compare. So why does a solid Fine Arts Program matter for our school?
Camaraderie: Nothing bonds our campus together quite like the sight of students cheering for other students and rejoicing as they do well.
Discipline: In the piano world, students start their pieces about a year in advance of the next competition. Group performances spend hours and hours together to move and act as one. Students must learn time management skills to balance academic responsibilities, athletic practices, and games, as well as their fine arts rehearsals.
Confidence: Every staff member and parent can testify that these competitions prepare students for their future by giving them the confidence and tools to speak without fear. Time and time again, we have seen students’ lives transformed, coming out of their shells, and realizing their potential to be leaders.
Emotional Intelligence: Alumna Lauren Ackleh expressed that “being a part of the KHCS fine arts department throughout my years in high school gave me the opportunity to emotionally and spiritually express both myself and my faith in the performance of a piece. I gained communication and critical thinking skills and a honed social and emotional intelligence. All these skills are wholly relevant to my studies as a junior psychology major at UGA and to my career, as I plan to become a mental health professional in a world in need of healing and in need of emotionally attentive and receptive healers. The arts in general are an utter joy and are some of the most powerful tools we can use to show others the heart of our Messiah. But to me, and to many other students and alumni of Killian Hill, there is truly no place like home to experience the truth, beauty, and goodness that the arts bring us. Killian Hill is a haven for students to thrive in all avenues, and one of the biggest reasons behind my joy and thriving at KHCS was its Fine Arts Program. I will be forever grateful for the joy and all the utter magic I was given by being a part of it.”
We couldn’t agree more, Lauren, our Fine Arts Program is renowned for its excellence, but the true joy of our program is the Gospel. We teach and direct and sing and play to celebrate our Creator’s good and beautiful gifts and to praise His name. The invaluable skills that are imprinted in our students’ lives follow them as they graduate and become thoughtful, confident, disciplined leaders.