August 9, 2005
Aiken County’s first public performing arts school opened Tuesday. As News 12 reports, students and educators at Aiken Performing Arts Academy say this school is filling a big need.
Reading, ‘riting, ‘rithamatic…and rumba? That’s school for 45 Aiken County students starting at Aiken Performing Arts Academy, or APA. Tenth grader Briann Moore drives here from North Augusta because they offer something the county’s traditional public schools don’t.
“They have art classes, but they don’t have performing arts classes, so this was a good school for me to come to,” Moore said.
APA was started to fill that gap in Aiken County’s traditional schools.
“We are trying to meet the needs of a specific population of people. The school district a lot of times gets bogged down dealing with the students they already have,” said Tfifany Palmer.
The school focuses on dance, theater, visual arts and music. And studies show students who learn these things score well on academics.
Dance teacher Tfifany Palmer believes this charter school is filling a niche and at public school price – free.
“We have a lot of students in here who used to take dance or used to take art, but ran out of money,” Palmer said.
APA Academy is run by the same administration as Lloyd-Kennedy Charter School, which is starting it’s fourth year. Lloyd-Kennedy is a middle school and many of it’s students plan to move up to the high school. But next year both schools will be in a new campus off Valcluse Road, the first step towards what educators hope is a long future.
Leaders want to see APA turn into something like Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta. But most of all, they want to point students like Briann into a life of success.
Construction will start on the new school building before Christmas. The Assistant Director of the Performing Arts Academy is Aiken City Councilwoman Beverly Clyburn.