Eagle Valley seniors celebrate creativity | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley seniors celebrate creativity

Cindy Ramunno
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

GYPSUM, Colorado – At Eagle Valley High School Thursday night, creativity was in the spotlight at the second annual Senior Class Arts and Culture Celebration.

English instructor and speech and debate coach Mary Ann Stavney said that the event shows off students and their passion for artistic pursuits.

“Many graduating EVHS seniors enrich their lives through painting, artwork, musical performance, theater and travel,” Stavney said. “In my four years here, I continue to be amazed by the artistic pursuits of our students and the support and training provided by our specials staff, including Bonnie Franklin and Pat Sheehy.”

Those wandering through the student art gallery were awestruck, as they were offered various desserts provided courtesy of the Senior Pro Start students. Service trays were quickly empty, as students and parents snagged a sweet.

“I feel like they came straight from the bakery,” said junior Kiah Fricker of the red velvet cupcakes. “They are delicious!”

Students at Eagle Valley High School are fortunate as they are offered varied and rigorous courses in the arts from culinary to music to visual. The data in a recent study of arts education in Colorado public schools reveals that high schools that offer more arts education have higher scores on tests in reading, writing and science – regardless of student ethnicity or socioeconomic status. They also have lower dropout rates. With school districts across the state having to make budget cuts, arts programs are some of the first to be slashed, and currently in Colorado, around half of the students in public high schools are not taking any arts courses.

But no one was thinking about the lack of art programs at EVHS as talented performers took the stage to provide tears, laughs, and everything in between. Principal Mark Strakbein described the event as “an amazing showcase of true talent” and said that the event embodies the school’s beliefs and values of the importance of every student at the school.

“This is a chance for us to share these talents with our community,” he said.

Stavney directed the program so that it was entirely run by students. Students explored the value of the arts, travel and culture in our lives through video, and short movies highlighted individual artists, who explained how art and travel enrich our lives. Artistic performances included duet humor, vocal performances in Spanish and English, dance, acoustic guitar, harp and cello. In addition, the sound and backstage crew was fully student run by younger students, who will serve as the future theater crew. The school’s AV Club filmed the event for Channel 18.

Energy oozed from the auditorium as senior soloist Casey Kerrigan sang and strummed his original song “Rattle.” Wrapping up the event, Peter Cirkovic and Rodrigo Hernandez brought down the house with a hilarious duet humor “The History of Television” – funnier than anything you could actually see on TV.

With that, the audience left with huge smiles, and a lasting memory of the Eagle Valley Class of 2011.