Charter school allows students to get creative through tech, art, song, dance

A new charter school in Opa-locka is offering students the chance to succeed in the classroom by combining the arts with traditional class subjects.

Students say the Arts Academy of Excellence Charter School gives them the tools to dream big for the future.

Ajaylon Peoples, who is in the sixth grade, is currently tackling a robotics class, but it’s visual arts that has his heart.

“Arts has been my talent and I like doing it,” Ajaylon said.

For Trinity Cason, it’s dance class that keeps her happy.

“It’s my thing,” she said. “I don’t like other jobs. I want to express my talents.”

This is the first year for the sixth-grade through ninth-grade arts and technology school.

Teachers said they feel they are filling a void for their students.

“All of the schools offer reading arts language arts, such as we do. What makes our school special and differentiates our school from other schools is the focus of cultural arts and performing arts,”  Marjorie Scott, dean of students, said.

Dance teacher Anita Hope is a veteran dancer and teacher. She knows what she teaches in the studio fills so many roles in real life.

“It brings more opportunities than dance — it teaches them discipline, it teaches them structure, but it also gives them an opportunity to first learn what dance is all about,so history about them, some culture,” she said.

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Miami Dolphins players join Hyundai Youth Football camp

A group of children ages 7 to 13 met to practice on Saturday morning with Miami Dolphins players at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. 

They started off the day posing for a picture with Quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Local coaches taught the kids fundamental skills like throwing and receiving.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Tannehill said. “It’s a blessing to be able to be a part of a camp like this.”

The Hyundai Youth Football camp is a national program that stops in seven locations starting with South Forida, and then moving on to Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and New york.

There will be a second sessions on Saturday afternoon. 

 

 

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Mentor program helps answer the question ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’

Remember when you were growing up and everyone would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

For some that’s an easy question, but for many it can be agonizing.

 A local mentoring organization called Kapow  is working to help.

Recently a group of sixth-graders at Imagine Charter School in Weston had a field trip to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s outpatient center in Miramar courtesy of Kapow,  a nonprofit that exposes students to careers from second grade to eighth grade.

 The program aims to encourage kids to dream big, and to have an idea of what they want to be when they grow up.

“They learn about fractures. They learn about orthopedics, they learn about radiology. They learn about what we do when we assess the patients and what we do in the urgent care center we walked them through it,” Monica Ruiz Valls, of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital said.

Just this year alone, Kapow has done almost 300 field trips in the over 71 South Florida schools they serve.

The field trips introduce students to careers in finance, law enforcement  and just about any field you could imagine.

They have seven one hour class session and then a field trip.

“It’s been a great experience, like I haven’t done the all-around but it’s been amazing,”  Jorge Altuna, a student who aspires to be a surgeon, said.

 Lucas Rios, who wants to be a paramedic,  agreed.

“I think it’s good for everyone because you get to learn about what kind of jobs you could be interested in in the future,” he said.

Kapow has been funding these outings and lessons for 25 years with the help of 500 professional volunteers.

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Trayvon Martin’s mom says more needs to be done to save lives in Miami

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, believes more needs to be done to save the lives of the African-American children who continue to die in shootings. After her son’s death five years ago, she turned into an advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Fulton said that when George Zimmerman said he killed her 17-year-old son, because he felt threatened, she was determined to not be a victim. In her new book, Rest in Power, she and Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, share their journey from despair to activism. 

Fulton said that she didn’t want her son’s death to become just another homicide. And while at Miami Norland Senior High School, her alma mater, she said more needs to be done. She believes her work with the foundation that she set up in her son’s memory and the book are still not enough.

“I am considering running for office … I can do my best,” Fulton said. 

Fulton joined the My Future, My Choice movement’s third town hall on Friday. The Local 10 News effort aims to raise awareness about the need to end the ongoing cycle of violence in Miami. The event highlighted programs that are working against the strong forces that are risking the lives of children and teenagers every day. 

Some of the cast members of “Moonlight” also participated in the town hall. Their success proves to be an example of the benefits of promoting the arts in Miami and supporting projects that expand opportunities for teens like Sharif Earp, who had been shot before a job with the film changed his life. 

“A lot of these kids get into trouble out of just sheer boredom,” Earp said. “There is nothing to do. You look outside, it’s hopeless.”

Xavier Gustave found a way out of the streets through the Guitars Over Guns program. He was among the students who talked about the program has changed their lives and exposed them to the power of creativity. Gustave said he hopes to one day give back with his own business. 

“I just want a place where we can give to the world what we have been given,” Gustave said. 

Fulton said she believes not enough is being done to end the cycle of violence that has many African-American parents living in fear. She got a taste of politics when she campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last year. 

“The only thing I can do is try,” Fulton said about running for office herself. “And, I am not afraid to try.”

 

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‘Moonlight’ actors perform with classmates in end-of-year performance

The end-of-year play at Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens included special highlights this year: award-winning actors.

Jaden Piner and Alex Hibbart starred in “Moonlight,” the Miami-based film that won an Oscar for Best Picture. 

On Thursday, they had roles in a mashup of performances that included vignettes from “Hamilton” and “Hairspray.”

The seventh graders told Local 10 they were thrilled Norland is getting attention for being a special school for performing arts. 

The head of the drama program, Tanisha Cidel, said there is a lot of untapped talent in Miami-Dade County. She will be running a workshop over the summer for anyone interested in the performing arts. 

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Young at Art Museum runs Sunland Park Academy’s art programs

The walls at Sunland Park Academy in Fort Lauderdale are bursting with color. Thanks to the school’s art program the students’ paintings will remain on display until the end of the school year. 

Mindy Shrago, the founder of the Young at Art Museum, said she and her team started to work at the school five years ago. 

“We know how important it is to teach through the arts,” Shrago said. 

The museum based in Davie established the school’s art program and continues to run it with Penny Phillips, the school’s art teacher.  

“Art makes no mistakes. You can’t fix art,” Phillips said.  “They have a good time. It’s fun. They can laugh.”

Aside from the day-time art program, the museum also hosts a night-school program for children who are homeless.

 

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