“My students loved the theater program and really enjoyed each class. It was a great introduction to theater! Our instructor did a great job to promote student participation, excitement, and student engagement. Thanks!” -Santa Rita School Teacher K-3
“We are thrilled about our children’s participation in the Starting Arts program. Their involvement in music, dance & drama classes have given them memorable experiences and added confidence.” -Sunnyvale School Parent K-5
“Starting Arts is an incredible program that has introduced my eight-year-old daughter to the wonders of the arts. She is able to nurture a part of herself that goes beyond the traditional “three r’s” curriculum that schools typically offer. In this new world of “standard-based” evaluation and testing, it’s refreshing to see thinking that’s outside of the box. Kudos to … all the talented and hard-working instructors.” - Maribel Castillo, Santa Clara, CA.
“Two of my children are now benefiting from the Starting Arts Program… They were thrilled I enrolled them. It has built up their confidence and social skills, made them more creative and most important they are having fun! I give the teachers my gratitude for all their patience and dedication they exhibit working with all the children.” - Petrina Keene (ECE Teacher), Santa Clara, CA.
“My daughter, now 8, has been involved in this program since first grade. She has taken art and theater and has gained tremendous skills, confidence and passion in these areas. This is an incredible program. Very well organized, the communication to parents is terrific, and my daughter loves the teachers she has had. I feel incredibly lucky that this is offered.” - Elizabeth Schneiderman, Sunnyvale, CA.
“As a former high school drama teacher, I saw first hand how the arts ‘saved’ some students. Every teacher education program emphasizes that students learn in different ways…there is even what is called the “musical intelligence.” Teachers-in-training are encouraged to teach to the different intelligences, and adapt lesson plans so that all intelligences are covered. However, once they get into their classrooms, the emphasis becomes teaching to the tests that are now being required across the nation. These tests are usually factual ‘fill-in-the-bubble’ tests. While these can be important, there are no opportunities to reach and challenge the students who learn in less concrete ways. I have just finished my first term of teaching with the Starting Arts program. In 10 weeks, the 20-25 first and second graders I work with have learned the basics of ballet and tap dancing. The students love what they’re doing, and I love giving them the opportunity to learn. As a dancer, I am proud to be passing what I have learned on to a new generation of budding artists. The Starting Arts program fills a gap in our current educational system. It reaches to all children and opens up new worlds to them.” – Jeanne Boyd, San Lorenzo, CA.
“Jeanne Boyd was my drama teacher at Montclair High School. When I was younger I was very shy. No one could get me to express myself. I was very quiet and non-social. No one really knew what my interests are, except for my family. I always loved acting out scenes of movies at home and dancing in my room. My junior year of high school I decided to take drama. I wanted to act. I can’t thank drama enough for what it did to me. I’m not afraid to express myself anymore and my friends really know who I am now. I’m no longer afraid to express my opinions or thoughts. I came out of my shell thanks to the performing arts. I discovered who I really am. If this happened to me that means other young people like me will benefit from such art programs.” - Tamara Quinn, Bernard, Maine.
“You never know what’s going to capture the imagination of a child and be the catalyst for change in a child’s life. In a world where the TEST rules like an iron fist, it gives me hope to see an organization working the other end of the spectrum, giving kids a chance to see the world through an artistic lens, allowing them to see all of their possibilities. What a concept!” - Michael Boston, San Jose, CA.
“Three cheers for a WIN,WIN,WIN situation. The kids win with the exposure to the arts so they might discover their many natural talents. These activities boost confidence, self-esteem, responsibility, and respect. The parents win with an affordable, accessible, productive after school program. The artists win with jobs in their fields, passing on their knowledge, techniques and passions to the next generation of artists.” - Dorothea White, Redwood City, CA.
“….As a high school student….the arts have saved me. In fact, I continue to see how the arts have changed my life today. Participating in drama, dance, and music gave me, among other things, confidence, purpose, focus, a set of friends who I still keep in touch with, and most importantly, a sense of self. My music, drama, and dance teachers made a lasting impression on me. I still remember the first lessons I had in kindergarten on how to read music, and I remember my jazz, tap, and ballet classes from when I was six and seven years old. I remember what it felt like to be on stage for the first time, and to know that my family was in the audience, watching me and ready to applaud me just for being there. Those are the memories of elementary school that I have retained, and those memories are what have inspired me to try to give back some of what I was given. As my third term working with the Starting Arts team is coming to a close, I am realizing even more clearly what a gift the arts are. Children are exposed to so many undesirable elements in the world, and participating in the arts at an early age trains them to see and appreciate the beauty instead. Not only does this hands-on participation teach them to recognize that beauty, but it also teaches them how to create it as well.” – Melissa Tom, Cupertino, CA.