NARROWS, Va. (WDBJ7) For being their first FFE Mornin' Pep Rally, Narrows High School did not disappoint.
The gymnasium was packed not only with students, but several of their parents, grandparents, and younger siblings. It just goes to show you this community really is a big green family!
All morning long the band kept the crowd cheering and clapping. Their director, Karyn Spade, is also the show choir teacher. We caught up with her earlier in the week to talk about how the arts are becoming a lost art in many academic classrooms around the country.
"So many of the arts are dying away and it's really important that the community and parents stand behind the arts and support them no matter what," Spade said.
At Narrows High School, Spade's show choir class is the only one of its kind in the county.
"It's meant the world to me because it gives me a creative outlet," senior Grace Burke said. "Especially in today's society, art isn't really appreciated, so it makes me happy that I can come in here and express myself and use art as a way of doing that."
Right now, they're rehearsing their Christmas performance.
"I just really like to sing. I've been singing my whole life," Chloe Smith, a sophomore, said.
However, not only are they learning song notes and choreography; they're learning to be themselves.
"I just really see the influence it's had on me as a person that has struggled a lot with self image and things in high school," Burke said. "I know that it's really helped me develop confidence."
The same is true for students in the high school's theater program.
"I'm not a shy person, but I'm also not the most outgoing so it's fun to get on stage and get to put myself in somebody else's shoes, and it helps me with my confidence a lot," junior Rhea Perdue said.
Perdue and her freshman classmate, Adelita Maddy are starring in the year's competition One Act called "Whispers."
"My character is Jamie, Kate's best friend," Maddy said. "And Kate's father just died in the military. And Jamie is trying to pull Kate out of her dark spot."
They spend hours every day and on the weekend rehearsing to get it just right.
"I just want to convey that to the audience that this is real. These are real people and real stories," Perdue said.
They're also learning how to be the best versions of themselves along the way.
"It helped me a lot with confidence and that carried over into other things like school and work and stuff like that. So it teaches you all kinds of qualities of life," Perdue said.
Along with show choir and theater, there's another club at Narrows High School that also helps students connect with others and break out of their shells.
The high school cafeteria can be an intimidating place for new students like Caleb Burnside.
"I felt as if I would have all these people around me, but no one actually new who I was," Burnside said.
Then one day something changed.
"I walked into the lunch room and he's like, 'Hey! Come sit here! Come sit with us!'" Burnside said.
That voice belonged to Cohen Taylor, who created a club for students who feel the way Caleb did.
"Pick Up 365, a lot of people think that it's a trash or recycling thing, but it's totally not that," Taylor said. "It's a club designed to create a young community that supports each other."
He uses his own experiences with depression to help others by using the club as a safe place to talk about what they're dealing with.
"I know a lot of people are going through a lot of things like depression and stuff like that," he said. "We talk about serious problems such as suicide, mental illness, peer pressure, prejudices, fears and all that stuff."
The club of 30 to 40 members also makes sure no one sits alone during lunch.
"Like him, I like to help people and bring people together, and 'pick them up' exactly because we all need that," Leticia Ortiz said.
"You know I honestly felt really lonely before this club," Taylor said. "Even though I had so many people around me, I just felt totally alone."
They sit together at lunch, play games and laugh. Because just like their club bulletin board reads in the cafeteria, 'be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody,' this club makes sure everyone is welcome."
Friday, October 18 is WDBJ7's final FFE Mornin' Pep Rally of the season. The crew is heading to Bath County for the first time and we can't wait to see what the Chargers have in store for us!
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