Ashley Academy rolls out the red carpet

Jessica Fuller • Apr 14, 2018 at 7:09 PM

With the stage set and the red carpet stretching to welcome guests to their seats, Ashley Academy welcomed VIP guests Friday night for the school’s first “Evening with the Arts” event. 

Guests made their way to their seats in the gym lined with original student artwork as students scrambled backstage to prepare for the production of “A Day in the Sun,” an original musical written and directed by Maryam Awan, the school’s art teacher.

A concession booth made sure snacks and drinks made it to attendees, who readied their cameras in preparation for the big night. Students arrived in their costumes or Hollywood best, and here and there a Star Wars character could be seen mingling before the big event.

Headmaster Ramona Harr said the big goal with this event was to get all the students working together for a common goal, in addition to exposing them to different facets of art and music. Every student, from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, had a hand in the production, and the older students each auditioned for individual parts and solos. Other students collaborated to make props and costumes and develop the dance choreography. 

Harr said that she and the other faculty are excited to see the students so responsive to the project, adding that next week the students will consider what they learned from the experience and re-evaluate how they tackled challenges and conflicts in the process of creating the event.

“We’ve been thrilled with how the students have embraced this, when it comes to collaboration, the commitment,” Harr said. “We’re really excited about the community feel, and the ownership (by) the students has been very impressive.” 

Harr said the project was Awan’s idea, and students have been working on it since the fall, committing several hours after school on its preparation. Since it already proved to be a big hit with faculty, students and their families, Harr said plans for next year are already in the works. 

“We call it an ‘Evening with the Arts’ for a purpose, we want to celebrate the value, where a lot of other school systems might be eliminating those. These two activities are extremely important to each child, one of the things we’ve found over the years is not all children are academic, and this is how they find success.”  

Email Jessica Fuller at jfuller@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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