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(MOREHEAD MIDDLE SCHOOL -- June 20, 2019) — EPISD middle school students strengthened their fine-arts skills and showcased their talent in singing, acting, painting and poetry this summer during the 2019 Cultural Arts Experience at Morehead. 

The experience gave more than 60 students a chance to dabble in different areas of fine arts during the three-week camp while also bonding with students from throughout the district. The program, formally known as the Renaissance Experience, had only been open to gifted and talented students but this year was open to all middle school students in EPISD.

“It’s a good way for kids to get creative in the summer,” said Franklin junior Madilyn Anderson, who has both participated and volunteered in the program. “My favorite thing about this program is seeing the projects come together at the end.”

Inside the Morehead cafeteria, students gathered around a piano to sing, while others spread out across tables drawing and painting. A half dozen students sat on the stage preparing for a play rehearsal while others worked on poetry.

“I think it’s nice because you get to learn new stuff and you get out of your comfort zone,” said Avery Awalt, a Lincoln sixth grader. “If you like painting, you can paint. If you like theater, you can act, and you get to make new friends.”

The opportunity to learn fencing initially drew El Paso High freshman Rene Diaz into the program three years ago – a signature activity of the late Renaissance experience. The revamped program will offer different themes but will continue its focus on fine arts. 

“It’s a fun program. You get to do a lot of stuff,” said Diaz, a budding artist. “I fell in love with it when I joined in.”

More subtly, the camp supports students social-emotional learning.

“The cool thing about the camp is that you see the SEL strategies have really helped the kids blossom,” said EPISD Gifted-and-Talented Facilitator Cuyler Anderson. “We have several students who were super shy when they came in and, now, they are literally the life of the party.”

2019 Cultural Arts Experience
2019 Cultural Arts Experience

Video by Angel Dominguez and Raymond Jackson/EPISD

Story by Reneé de Santos
Photos by Leonel Monroy