Fine Arts Academy conducts 1st expo
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
September 14, 2012 12:00 AM | 1495 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Oak Grove Elementary second-graders Nour Barghouti and Alyce Boucher, third-grader Ingrid Lopez and first-grader Joshua Harding welcome the audience to an expo Monday conducted to demonstrate the school’s accomplishments as a Fine Arts Academy.<br>Cherokee Tribune/special
From left, Oak Grove Elementary second-graders Nour Barghouti and Alyce Boucher, third-grader Ingrid Lopez and first-grader Joshua Harding welcome the audience to an expo Monday conducted to demonstrate the school’s accomplishments as a Fine Arts Academy.
Cherokee Tribune/special
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WOODSTOCK — Cherokee County School District’s first-ever Cherokee Academy Expo took place Monday at Oak Grove Elementary School to demonstrate the school’s artistic accomplishments as a Fine Arts Academy.

The other district Fine Arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academies will also be conducting their own expos to show off what they’ve learned in the first month of school.

Each academy will have an expo night every fall and spring semester in an effort to raise awareness among parents and guardians in the community about the Cherokee Academies initiative, district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said.

Led by Principal Les Conley, the evening featured all of Oak Grove’s students performing songs and dances and exhibiting their works of art. The expo also included performances by Etowah High School and River Ridge High School student performers to kick off the evening.

Conley said he and his family band performed two songs with the students, including a rendition of “Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself” by Sly and the Family Stone to thank Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo and the school board for creating the Cherokee Academies initiative.

“It’s my 30th year in education and I’ve never been more excited,” Conley said.

For Oak Grove students, the fine arts instruction began the first day of school, Conley said.

“What we really do is we don’t just teach fine arts, we integrate fine arts into all areas of curriculum,” Conley said. “On the first day, all grade levels came to the gym and we used the songs we planned to perform as a means to teach math and count beats within a measure. It incorporated math, fractions, doubling and halving numbers.”

Brian Hightower, assistant superintendent of school operations, attended Monday night’s expo and said the school led the way to the Fall Expo ’12 events in style.

“Principal Les Conley and his fine staff conducted a night in which all of 500-plus Oak Grove ES students, including those attending the Pre-K center on campus, were a part of the main presentation… in front of a packed house in the newly air-conditioned gymnasium. It was obvious that the school’s staff and other stakeholders had worked very hard to pull off this performance in a very short period of time,” Hightower said.

Conley said the performances were better than all of the previous dress rehearsals.

“When the lights came on, the stars came out,” Conley said.

Also in attendance were school board members Janet Read and Robert Wofford, as well as other Cherokee Academy principals and district-level staff.

“It was a great evening, as the Oak Grove ES students represented themselves with both pride and (visible) energy,” Hightower said. “Both staff and community communicated their appreciation to the superintendent (Dr. Frank Petruzielo) and School Board for their unique opportunity,” Hightower said.

Read said she was impressed teachers and staff was able to get all students involved in a short period of time.

“I was amazed that they were able to have such a great program with really only six weeks of work,” Read said. “Hats off to the teachers and staff there who obviously jumped in with both feet to make sure it was a success.”

The other Fall Expo 2012 events have also been set, and the times and dates are: Clark Creek ES, 6 p.m., Oct. 4; Ball Ground ES, 7 p.m., Oct. 9; Hasty ES, 7 p.m., Oct. 17; and Canton ES, 6 p.m., Nov. 8.

Jacoby said the events at Ball Ground ES and Clark Creek ES also will include ribbon cuttings for those new facilities.
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