The Arts

The arts

                       WELCOME TO A NEW YEAR

                                     Brian Zuar, Ed.D. - Director of the Arts - September 2019

 

Arts Education Front and Center at SSHS Graduation

When I attended South Side High School’s graduation ceremony last June, I listened to the introductions of the students who were honored with awards and to the comments of student leaders who spoke. A thread of arts education permeated the remarks.  For example, the salutatorian cited a song from her favorite movie musical as an inspiration.  The student body president indicated that South Side’s music program had a profound influence on her life and she used four songs to organize the ideas in her speech. After singing the Star-Spangled Banner, the Chamber Singers moved the audience with an emotional rendition of “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.” Finally, the recipients of the major awards and scholarships that were given at the ceremony were introduced as outstanding in music, art, and theater.  It struck me in a dramatic way that our Arts programs are affecting students deeply and having a profound impact on their learning and social, emotional, and intellectual development.

 

Improvements to Our Buildings

Over the summer, our middle school created new instructional space for our technology

department. So much instruction is now enhanced by and integrated with digital applications that our teachers needed a computer lab that was accessible to the tech classrooms. The old dark room (used as a storage closet since we converted to digital photography) has been converted into the very room they needed and students in the workshop and TV studio can move easily between the new lab and their classroom.  At the HS, the wood design room has some new and improved video equipment and new floors to start the school year.  Thanks to a grant from the RVC Education Foundation, the Middle School STEAM lab has been upgraded with a new Group Education Controller which enables the teacher and students to communicate and share their work wirelessly using iPads as well as desk top computers.  In addition, the district’s technology department has installed updated iMacs and the Music Department has purchased new electronic keyboards and benches.

 

Outstanding Performers in State and National Honors Ensembles

Each summer, I look forward to hearing about our high school students who qualified to perform at NYSSMA’s All State Conference in December. Congratulations to Victoria Lu who will play in the All State String Orchestra and Kiersten Quirk, who will sing in the All State Treble Choir in Rochester this December.  Congratulations to the following students  have been selected for honors ensembles by the American Choral Directors Association and will represent RVC at their Eastern Division conference in March: Madeline Getty, Anthony Giangregorio, Reid Plonsky Thomas Kelly, and Kiersten Quirk. Congratulations to the following students who were selected as alternates for All State Ensembles: Violinists Matthew Byrne and Charles Ohanian; Trumpeter, Eli Pularo; and Vocalist. Jack Richman. 
    I am always filled with pride and joy at the high level of accomplishment of these students, all the district’s music teachers, and their level of dedication to their craft and pride in their work. 

 

Welcome New Teachers

Last year, we welcomed Ms. Shannon Hazelton as a leave replacement general music teacher at Hewitt. This year, I am pleased to welcome her to our full-time teaching staff!   She will teach strings at Wilson and Covert and General Music at Wilson, Covert, and Watson.  Two of our teachers will be out on family leave, Mrs.  Toomey, Music teacher at Hewitt and Mrs. Elbroody, Art teacher at the Middle School. Congratulations to both of them and we welcome Ms. Angelina Scolari to teach Music at Hewitt and Monica Rzewski to teach Art at the middle school. I join the Art and Music faculties in welcoming these young professionals to Rockville Centre and wish them warmest best wishes.

 

Deep into my second decade here, I reflect on how we are seeing the implementation of visionary programs that integrate the arts with technology, math, science and a host of other disciplines. Our students are being challenged to think critically, creatively, and to find solutions to real world problems.  None of this would be possible without the collaboration and cooperation of a supportive board of education, dedicated administrators at the district and building levels and high-quality professionals who teach our children in the classrooms, studios, workshops, and rehearsal rooms.   Each year as I write these reflections, I recall the happiness I find working with students, parents, teachers, administrators, the Arts Sponsors, Education Foundation, and AIM Committees in this wonderful community.  Together we will work on the continued development of arts education.  It’s good to be back for 2018-2019!