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Washington County students, parents hear info about new performing arts school

April 03, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

SMITHSBURG -- She wants to go, even if it's just for one year.

Clare McMahon, a sophomore at Smithsburg High School, said her passion is musical theater, and she is hoping to be part of the first graduating class of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

The high school for the performing arts will open for the 2009-10 school year in downtown Hagerstown.

Clare was one of about 50 students and parents at an informational meeting about the school Wednesday at Smithsburg Middle School. The session was the first of eight informational meetings planned at county schools through April.

"The fact that you're getting professional training will boost any student's stamina and passion for (performing)," Clare said. "I am really, really excited."

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Like some of the other students at the meeting Wednesday, Clare said she hopes to pursue a career in the arts.

Students interested in enrolling in the school will apply. Applications will be available this summer, and the deadline to apply is December. Students will submit the application, which will include an essay question. After the application is received, students will receive a packet with information about the audition process.

Students and parents learned Wednesday about the classes that will be available at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, and what a typical day might look like. Students would be split between the downtown arts school and the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown campus, where students will have their academic courses.

"This is going to be a school unlike any other," said Rob Hovermale, coordinator of visual and performing arts.

Kylie Stoup, an eighth-grader at Smithsburg Middle, said she likely will apply to attend the school. She draws, plays the violin, dances, acts and sings.

Kylie said she hasn't been able to take all of the arts courses she would like to at her middle school because of the need for other classes, like Spanish. However, Kylie said she would like to major in architecture in college, and isn't sure the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts will offer all of the math and science courses she will need.

Amanda Allen, a freshman at Smithsburg High, plays the saxophone in the school's band, and is involved in drama and chorus.

"I want to pursue a career in musical theater," she said. "(The school) will be a great opportunity to learn a lot."

Amanda, who also plays softball, said she didn't mind that students at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts likely will not be able to play on a school sports team. She said she would play softball on a summer league and concentrate on the arts during the school year.

"It's not a factor," Amanda said. "This is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

To find out more, go to www.barbaraingramschool.com

Information sessions about the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts



· April 7, 7 p.m., Northern Middle School

· April 10, 7 p.m., Boonsboro Middle School

· April 14, 6 p.m., Hancock Middle-Senior High School

· April 15, 7 p.m., E. Russell Hicks Middle School

· April 21, 7 p.m, Springfield Middle School

· April, 22, 7 p.m., Clear Spring Middle School

· April 23, 7 p.m., Western Heights Middle School

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