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CCHS receives $20,000 for production

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Alabama Arts Education Initiative has awarded Chilton County High School $20,000 for the annual art showcase “A Chilton Christmas.”

The school was given the maximum amount given to schools that have an established art program.

“The focus was really making sure that our students had as much opportunity to do arts as possible,” teacher Jennifer Supri, who wrote the grant application and served as a director for the program, said.

She said the grant will allow the school to expand the program and art opportunities for students. In December 2019, the first “A Chilton Christmas” performance featured the school’s newly formed jazz band, CCHS students singing and dancing, a giant sleigh built by agriscience students, decorations made by art students and Clanton Middle School’s choir.

“My favorite part about the show was it featured a lot of groups that don’t necessarily get exposure,” Supri said.

Renee Ousley was also a director for the program. Assistant Principal Rosalyn Dixon was the vocal coach, and Brittany Thomas was the choreography coach.

“We are so excited about what this does for our students and the growth of this program for our community,” Principal Ron Pinson said. “Last year’s program saw more than 140 CCHS/CMS students involved in the production. In addition, two food pantries were filled because of admissions. We are so proud of CCHS students and the staff who support them and all the opportunities now in the works.”

The grant will contribute toward purchasing instruments for the jazz band, costumes, props and sets, licenses for songs the group wants to use, upgrades to light and sound equipment and a new laptop.

“We desperately needed a new laptop to run the video components,” Supri said. “We have great projectors, but a very old laptop.”

Professional vocal and choreography coaches will also be brought to the school through grant funds.

The grant requires $4,000 of the funds to be used for professional development for the school staff members involved. Supri said the leadership team will go to the AAEI summit in April to accept the grant and gain information that can help the program. A couple of teachers will go to a summer arts conference.

Also as a part of the grant, plans are being made for students in the show to see a professional musical and have the chance to talk to the cast and crew.

Supri said this is “a college and career facet, showing the students opportunities that they will have if they pursue a career in the arts.”

Since the organization requires the grant money to be spent by October, work has already begun on the December 2020 show. Auditions will be held in August.