Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo by: Chris Holden
Wellington Heights Secondary School (WHSS) staff are getting creative when it comes to their courses.
The school in Mount Forest is introducing a new creative course for its students called, the integrated arts program.
WHSS teacher Charlotte Ristich, who will be teaching the course in the new year said it’s one not a lot of schools offer, because usually in terms of the arts they break down the courses by field.
“So, you would have drama, you would have music, visual arts, dance, etcetera, etcetera, but, at a school like Wellington Heights where we have quite a small student population, having a course like integrated arts is great because we can kind of combine all of those different fields of the arts into one really exciting, creative course,” Ristich said.
Principal Brent Bloc at WHSS said there’s definitely interest at the school when it comes to the arts.
“[The course] is filling a void, but also trying to find a sustainable way to ensure that arts programming continues, and is vibrant and alive here in our local community,” Bloc said.
“The challenge is in a small school it’s difficult to offer a wide variety of programming, so we really need to be creative in the ways in which we’re offering programs to kids, so that we can ensure that all of our students have access to the arts,” Bloc said.
Ristich said an example of what students can expect to do in the course is creating a music video.
“Where not only are they creating the music, but they’re also creating the video itself,” Ristich said. “So, they would be performing in the video, filming the video, and creating the music that goes along with it. So, sort of integrating all these different fields of the arts and putting them together.”
Ristich said the school hasn’t been able to run a music course for quite a few years because of low numbers in student population, and there wasn’t a teacher on staff to teach it.
“By running this course, hopefully we can bring in not only the students who have that music interest, but performance as well […],” Ristich said. “So, knowing students and knowing what they’re interested in, I know that makeup is such a huge interest right now, students follow these YouTube channels where they’re basically treating makeup like it’s this beautiful art field.”
Ristich added she would love to involve special effects makeup in the course.
The idea for the program came through collaboration between school staff in the arts department and school administration.