School for the Arts train young Silay artists

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


ARTISTICALLY gifted teenagers in Silay City need not wait for college before taking up formal schooling in their fields of interests. In fact, they don’t even have to spend much for trainings, as the courses are offered in their public high school.

As early as their secondary education, Silay students with special interest for the six arts—creative writing, dance, music, theater arts, media arts, and visual arts—can enroll in the School for the Arts (SFA) of the Doña Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School.

Albino Berioso and Fritzel Deocadiz, who both teach at the school’s regular classes, also handle dance and creative writing respectively, for the SPA. Other teachers handling regular academic classes also handle visual arts, media arts, and theater arts, supplemented by “visiting artists.”

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One of the visiting artists is Emmanuel Rodriguez, an employee of the Silay City government, who handles media arts and theater arts.

SFA students have an average of two hours of arts classes every day, and take on eight hours of regular classes daily, says Cristina Loredo, head teacher of the English Department.

An SFA student chooses his or her own area of specialization during the freshman year, and pursues it until the senior year.

Loredo adds that the SFA also has a separate graduation ceremony, apart from that of students taking regular classes, where they also award their honor students.

Berioso says their SFA students excel in their respective art forms, and are always competitive in district, area, and provincial meets, often bringing home the proverbial bacon.

The Silay SFA students have performed in many notable shows in school, in Silay’s Civic Center, and malls. They have staged a musical “Christmas Around the World,” in Robinsons Place in Bacolod last December, and
“Mesiyah: A Musical Lenten Presentation” at the Silay Public Plaza recently.

The Silay SFA students won in the 2013 National Festival of Talents held in Tacloban. Representing the Western Visayas, the group won second place, best in script, and best actress.

Loredo says their students will compete again in the Regional Festival of Talents in Oton, Iloilo on Feb. 20-23. The students will compete with other SFA students in Western Visayas in five special skills such as streetdancing, shadow puppetry, on-the-spot painting, vocal solo, and solo guitar.

This March will be their third graduation ceremonies with 20 graduates, Berioso says, his eyes beaming with pride as he counts the number of gifted students they have nurtured to become skilled artists.

By developing the skills and talents of artistically gifted students at a young age, Berioso says he is proud and happy that their School for the Arts has become a “center of excellence in the arts” in this part of the province.

In Negros Occidental, four other schools are offering a Special Program for the Arts (SPA) curriculum, namely, Negros Occidental High School in Bacolod City, Tabao National High School in Valladolid, Lopez Jaena National High School in Murcia, and Himamaylan National High School.

The SFA was created in 2004 when the Department of Education designed a nationwide curriculum called Special Program in the Arts that aims to produce “excellent young artists with aesthetic potential and renewed spirituality committed to the preservation of Filipino culture and heritage.”

The SPA aims to develop students with special inclination to these six art forms, giving them creative outlets for expressing their ideas and feelings.

Under the SPA curriculum, the school offers a comprehensive secondary education program centered in the arts, covering a range of art forms and disciplines, as DepEd sees to it that arts education is an integral component of a balanced educational program in all year levels, which will also provide the background for post-secondary level work.

As a requirement, only Grade 6 or 7 pupils with an average of 82 per cent and have passed the High School Readiness Test qualify to take the High School Occupational Interests Inventory (HSOII), an inventory of what interest students may have about tasks and occupation, and their feelings about them. The HSOII is a requirement to get into the SPA. (Danny B. Dangcalan)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 19, 2014.

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