Students get taste of the arts at Garden City Community College




Area high school students interested in pursuing fine arts had the opportunity Thursday to explore everything that Garden City Community College's Fine Arts program has to offer, including drama, music, art and media.

Students from GCHS, Holcomb High School, Stanton County High School and other schools were presented a showcase of the programs offered through the college's fine arts program Thursday.

"I think, a lot of times, they know they want to go into art, but they don't know exactly what they want to do with it, so this will help give them some ideas," said Kristina Younkman, counselor at Garden City High School.

Younkman and Michael Chapman, art teacher at GCHS, brought 31 art, drama and journalism students to check out some of the options available at GCCC.

"The big push that we've been doing for the last year is trying to get kids college and career ready, so that's kind of what the point of this is, to let them know, it's not just an abstract concept you have," Chapman said. "It's showing them, 'Here are the steps, here are the people who can help you meet that goal.'"

The choir, music, drama, art and media departments at GCCC showcased for students the opportunities available to them through their respective programs.

GCCC's department of music offers both scholarships in band and choir. Students in GCCC's concert and jazz ensemble bands qualify for an annual scholarship of $350 each. Students who play in GCCC's pep band, which performs at all home football and basketball games, qualify for up to $600 per year in scholarships.

Students in GCCC's concert choir are eligible for scholarships of $500 per year; members of GCCC's College Singers are eligible for a $350 per year scholarship.

"And if you are a music major here at Garden City Community College, we will grant you tuition and books, a full ride here," Wright told students on Thursday.

Kyle Chaput, 2-D art instructor, said there are also scholarships available through the art department.

"We have numerous scholarships that cover books and tuition," Chaput said.

Brian McCallum, art instructor and gallery director, told students that the GCCC art department can provide them with a solid foundation that will help them in their future endeavors.

"We're community-based, we have small classes, we have strong instruction and we specialize in foundation, so you can count on getting a good education here," McCallum said.

In a separate interview, Phil Hoke, drama instructor at GCCC, said his department has seen drastic growth in popularity in the last year or two.

"The theater program, we've almost doubled from what we had a year ago, and we're continuing to grow with that," Hoke said.

Drama students performed a portion of their next production, "Lend me a Tenor" for the high school students on Thursday.

"We've only been rehearsing it for a week, so I want them to see a work in progress and to see, generally, how it all works," Hoke said. "And then, in the afternoon, we'll talk with students and try to put some of them on scholarship and make sure the paperwork's filled out, and just see where we go from there."

Full tuition and books scholarships are available through the drama department to both majors and non-majors.

Laura York Guy, student media coordinator and media instructor, said her department also offers full tuition and books scholarships, up to $3,500 per year, depending on course load. The scholarships are available to both majors and non-majors.

"We have students who use their photography skills, we have students who use their artistic skills, we have students who use their drama skills, we have students who use their musical skills," Guy told students Thursday.

Yolanda Ledesma, a senior from GCHS, plans to pursue coursework in photography at GCCC after high school.

"I want to do a lot of sports maybe and a lot of things around the city — just take pictures of Garden City and make Garden City look good," Ledesma said.

She also plans to attend the nursing school at GCCC.

"I'm good at taking care of people. Everybody says it's my calling, so I'm going to give it a shot," she said.

Former Stanton County High School student, Fabiola Sierra, who is now a freshman at GCCC, attended Fine Arts day last year, and said it's one of the primary reasons that she attends GCCC today. She serves as a photographer on the GC3 Media staff.

"Basically, what I've learned about this is, if you're going to go out there in the workforce, especially in this field, you've got to learn how to do everything around it," Sierra said. "You can't just go in and say, 'Hey. I can take pictures for you,' because they're going to ask, 'Can you write this? Can you design this for me? Can you go talk to them?' You've got to kind of know your way around all that."

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