Keystone students excel in classroom, on stage and in visual arts

Apr 29 2022

Keystone students excel in classroom, on stage and in visual arts

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
— Maya Angelou

For the past two years, we have missed out on ways to celebrate our student’s artwork like watching our students perform theater without masks or do a gallery walk. Finally, after far too long, the Keystone community was able to enjoy the students’ artistic talents over one incredible evening. As one parent expressed to me last Friday, “we have creative kids here.”

The night commenced with a riveting performance of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” This 1953 drama in which playwright Arthur Miller allegorized the McCarthy era through the Salem witch trials begins intensely and never lets up. The play has always resonated with me whether I was teaching it, or reading it and reconsidering my father’s work as a lawyer helping represent the military during the Army-McCarthy hearings.

The cast and crew performed magnificently and had the audience on the edge of their seats. I asked a junior at intermission what he thought of the show since he and his classmates had read “The Crucible” in class; he said ‘they are doing a great job of performing it.” I concurred. Congratulations to the students and the teachers Mr. C. and Ms. G for their excellent production.

Following the show, we adjourned to the theater garden to listen to live music and view our students’ visual art . A band of four sophomores and one senior called “Violent Tendencies” rocked the house. In addition, we were serenaded with a few beautiful piano pieces by 10th grader Tony. The unpredictable San Antonio weather cooperated with a gorgeous evening, and students and adults were able to enjoy the music. Congratulations also to the three students who had roles in the play and then changed their clothes so they could perform in the band.

Accompanying the music was student art in media ranging from animation on a screen in the theater garden to sculpture, painting, drawing, and photography in the library. Seeing students express awe at their peers’ artistic pieces felt gratifying and inspiring. Equally moving was witnessing the pride of these young artists, and their parents who saw their children’s creations for the first time. Watching a star volleyball player point out her photography to her father and seeing him beam was priceless.

On a monitor in the library scrolled poetry samples by students in the creative writing class. Here again, observing the world through our students’ words offered a rare and invaluable opportunity.

The displays enabled us to see a side of our students that may not always be visible. Our Cobras excel academically and are so busy and involved in such a variety of activities that knowing them in their entirety can prove elusive. It seemed like we were looking at the same students we see daily but through a completely new lens. Thanks go to our students for sharing their visions and thank you to their teachers-Dr. Arnold, Ms. Letos, Mr. Gonzalez, and Mr. Hale-for challenging and supporting our students in their creative endeavors.

Among the many benefits of belonging to the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) is the chance for students to attend the Annual Arts Festival. Every year, this three-day arts extravaganza gathers approximately 5,000 students from across the southwest for workshops, performances, and gallery viewings. I have had the good fortune to attend the Arts Festival several times and have described it as a cross between summer camp and the movie/TV show “Fame:” spontaneous outbreaks of music and art by students from different schools happen wherever one looks. Unfortunately, like so much else the past two years, the festival has been canceled, and it’s been a real loss for student-artists. Hopefully, it will return next spring.

Not to be deterred, the Keystone faculty essentially said, “if the students cannot go to the festival, then the festival will come to them.” A huge debt of gratitude goes out to our teachers for enabling the community to recognize and celebrate our students and their creativity.

Another parent said to me last Friday night as the band played, “man, these kids are brave. I would have never had that much courage when I was their age.” I agreed. To all of our students, thank you for your willingness to go out on a limb and share your vision with us. We are better off because of you.

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