'There's a need for it': Regina high school offers new art-focused curriculum

Regina's Balfour Collegiate is giving students with a passion for the arts a new way to learn.

Balfour Collegiate's arts collective open to Grade 9, 10 students during 2018-2019 school year

The school's new arts collective allows students to earn their high school diploma while focusing on dance, drama or visual arts. (CBC News)

Regina's Balfour Collegiate is giving students with a passion for the arts a new way to learn.

The school's new arts collective allows students to earn their high school diploma while focusing on dance, drama or visual arts.

There are so many people in this city who have a passion for the arts and I'm just so excited that we'll be the place where they'll be able to come and learn.-  Catrina Hunter

Catrina Hunter, one of the teachers who helped create the program, said the arts will be factored into required classes such as English.

"Combining the arts with that core subject of English actually really enhances it, because the kids are way more engaged. They love what they're doing, so they sort of forget that they're learning — and they just are so much more willing to do it when it's about something they really love," Hunter said.

Hunter said the school has already received a few applications even though the program hasn't been widely announced.

Catrina Hunter, one of the teachers who helped create the program, said arts will be factored into required classes such as English. (CBC News)

Grade 9, 10 students can apply

"There's a need for it. There are so many people in this city who have a passion for the arts, and I'm just so excited that we'll be the place where they'll be able to come and learn," Hunter said.

All Grade 9 and 10 students in the city will be eligible to apply for the program during the 2018-2019 school year.

According to Hunter, students in the program will have a chance to leave the building, work with guest artists and go on field trips.

Ellaissa Andrade, a Grade 12 student at Balfour, said she's been involved in the art classes at the school since Grade 10. She said they came highly recommended to her by older peers and teachers.

For one assignment, arts and other subjects were fused, she said.

Ellaissa Andrade, a Grade 12 student at Balfour Collegiate, created this artwork. (CBC News)

'I recommend it a lot'

"We were given a choice to do a dance, create an art (piece) or a picture that depicts our understanding of a book," Andrande said. "That was a good idea. It was very creative and a lot of people enjoyed it."

Andrade said she plans to enrol in university after graduating, but encourages those in Grade 9 and 10 to apply for the program. While outgoing people may be drawn to it, shy students should consider it as well, she said.

"I recommend it a lot. From my experience, I've gained a lot of confidence in this because I'm constantly surrounded by supportive teachers, supportive peers and there's just no judgment whatsoever between all of us," she said.

Students can apply online and will be charged $200 per year if accepted.

There will be an explanatory open house at Balfour Collegiate on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. CST.