I posted a few weeks ago about high school academy programs available in Chesapeake (other cities have them, too), and now I'm feeling even more excited and overwhelmed because I've also learned about the Governor's School for the Arts.
The school is based in Norfolk at several locations, but it is open to students in nearly every Hampton Roads city or county. The students attend their local school in the morning for academic classes and then travel by a school-provided bus to Norfolk for classes in their chosen field of art -- instrumental music, visual art, dance, vocal, musical theater and theater. The students get three hours of training in their field daily, mentor sessions with professionals from out of the area, field trips and many opportunities to perform for audiences. A bus takes them back to their home school, and it's all free, free, free.
Great news: 98% of the students go onto college (some in their "art," some taking other paths) and last year, students earns $2.5 million in scholarships.
Now the bad news: About 600 kids apply and 135 or so get in each year. Acceptance depeneds on ability and an audition or portfolio review, how many kids are already in your desired program, and how many "slots" your city is willing to fund. For example, Chesapeake pays for 80 slots (students.) That includes ALL students from freshmen to senior year. If they currently pay for 79 and those 79 are planning to return next year, well, there's just one slot open to everyone from Chesapeake who is applying. I need to emphasize I don't know that there's 79 students from Chesapeake currently enrolled. That number is made up. The "80" is not. The slides were moving quickly at the presentation I went to the other night, and the only other city I noticed the number of slots paid for was Virginia Beach: They have 140.
Preliminary applications are due Dec. 21, with references and essays due at the scheduled auditions/portfolio reviews. Those auditions start Jan. 5, and there are a few more sessions during the month. Students from rising freshmen to rising seniors can apply; details are available in guidance counselor offices and online.