One Day at Jeremiah Burke H.S.
Posted 1 October 2010 12:00 AM by Anne Ruthmann, Teaching Assistant, Target Arts
A few eyebrows were raised when I mentioned that I’d be working with students in Dorchester at Jeremiah Burke High School for the Target Arts Program. What I found was a friendly and welcoming environment as soon as I walked in the front door. No metal detectors, no armed security guards, just a simple table with a few ladies and a sign in sheet. I signed in, stopped in the office to find out where the auditorium was, and headed down to our “spot.” The art deco style auditorium was selected in order to give us space to move around, but the bonus is that these students will become very familiar with the stage as a space for exploring their own creativity. Claudy and I started by introducing ourselves and then playing a few name games and silent organizational games to help us get to know the students a little better. There aren’t any performing arts in this school, so much of what we’re doing with the students is quite different from their other classes where they can hide behind a desk. Naturally, there were a few students who weren’t sure about the whole experience and wanted to sit it out, but with a little encouragement, they gave us a chance. While I could definitely see the barriers and labels that students were carrying on the outside, I also got a little peek of the genuine excitement that lay on the inside. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, we’ll be able to engage that excitement and curiosity toward creating an expressive and collaborative piece that they can proudly call their own.
Anne is currently studying Music Education at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.