Artistically inclined find opportunities at Pace

Education By Maya Lora, Special to The Miami Laker Wednesday, March 19, 2014


At Monsignor Edward Pace High School, students who want to delve into the fine arts after their high school years have the perfect opportunity lined up for them. Through the Visual and Performing Arts Academy, students can get the experience of being at a magnet school while still receiving a Catholic education with a college preparatory curriculum.

Students stay within their chosen program for four years, taking a class each year that pertains to the specialty they have been drawn to. In the Visual and Performing Arts Academy, the following strands are offered: dance, art, music and theatre.

They all have their separate audition processes to assure the students are passionate about what they are dedicating themselves to and will remain driven throughout their four years in the program.

The dance strand is run by Karina Saud, who also captains the school’s competition dance team, the Starlettes. This strand has two tracks for students wishing to pursue dance; there is the regular track, where students take four years of dance that increase in difficulty with each year; and the performance track, which has a requirement of auditioning for and making the Starlettes dance team prior to entering the track.

The art strand, run by Marcel Navarro, consists of students creating a portfolio for themselves, which they will need when applying for top-of-the-line art universities. The program is intensive, making sure all of the students within it are hard-working and talented, creating the best pieces possible.

The music strand, run by Ross Goldman, breaks down into two tracks: band with an emphasis on instrumental, and band with an emphasis in guitar. Last school year was the inaugural year for this particular academy, which contains a small yet growing group of students dedicated to music.

Lastly, there is the drama strand, led by Cristina Pla-Guzman, which has three different tracks: the performance track, the musical theatre track, and a technical track. This strand focuses on turning a talent for acting, singing, costume designing, or any other theatre related skill into a craft, emphasizing that education is needed to transform a student from simply loving theatre into a student who can master theatre.

All of the academies offer academic and performance opportunities.

Each academy is connected to a nationally recognized honor society, and each offers a variety of shows and events where the students have the ability to show their talents. The roots of these academies, however, lie within the passion for the art that they represent.

When students dedicate their time to these classes, they are making a commitment to an art form that they want to pursue later in life. These students aren’t simply rehearsing for a few hours after school or painting in their rooms when they have free time; they are putting in hours on top of hours every day in order to perfect the craft that lies on the foundation of the talent they have been gifted with.

These students understand that their love for what they do shouldn’t go to waste and have found a way through the opportunities granted to them to make use of what they have so that they can expand their horizons even further when they leave the gates of high school.