Sunday, August 13, 2017

Month 8 School of the Day: FLAGSTAFF ARTS AND LEADERSHIP ACADEMY


-Hannah Staudinger

FALA has the reputation for being a school full of flowery hippie children dancing and singing their lives away. That is, well… not entirely false. The flowery hippie children are there, but they aren’t just singing and dancing their lives away, they’re singing and dancing because their lives depend on it. Every single person at the school has their “thing" and some people even have multiple, but the ability to completely throw themselves into a piece of work without hesitation is at the core of every FALA student. Nothing is done halfway, every person is held accountable. As stereotypical as it sounds, passion oozes from the school. And while many of the students may not want to necessarily go into the arts professionally, the balance of intense passion for the arts and challenging academics help to shape students into well-rounded and compassionate human beings.

As a student, I get frustrated with the school, with teachers or a performance or whatever else it may be, but I love it. It boggles my mind what the school is able to accomplish with the money we have, and I can only imagine the heights to which we could soar given a budget that is less restrictive. In my time at FALA I have been able to take rigorous AP courses, coordinate an event to raise awareness for homelessness in our community, and travel to the state capitol to lobby for environmental stability as well as participating in numerous theater and dance performances, and that’s just me. Other students are able to contribute in any infinite number of ways.

FALA gives students life changing experiences without even knowing it. In April I had the opportunity to perform in Shoah: Salvaged Voices, a play based on Alexandra Zapruder’s Salvaged Pages, a collection of diary entries from Jewish teenagers in  the Holocaust. The show, written by the Advanced Creative Writing class, was already incredibly emotionally taxing for both the writers and performers given the nature of the content. Then, on the last performance Doris Martin, a Holocaust survivor attended the show. I went into the lobby after the show, and I will never forget how Doris approached me with tears streaming down her face and said, “You described what it was like to be me when I was your age. You explained me.” That was the moment the switch flipped and I realized, other schools don’t give you that, other schools don’t force you to connect with other people like that.

Our school is able to do so much good given what we have, I cannot imagine what it would be able to do if each person who read this were to donate five dollars.

To read more about FALA (and donate your $5!) please visit http://flagarts.com.

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