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Students’ Skills Challenged in Summer Arts Program

"They're tasked with finding their own source of inspiration and their own self motivation, their own presence and their own confidence."

STEPHENS CITY, Va. - Guitar strumming, dramatic acting and creative masterpieces is what you'll find at Sherando High School where students are enrolled in a program called "PAVAN". It stands for Performing and Visual Arts Northwest.

"PAVAN is really unique because it's a tuition free program," said Director A.J. Ikner. "It's our 30th year being funded by the state, Frederick County and Loudoun County."

About 110 students are currently enrolled in the program where they can further their skills in classical guitar, theater, visual arts and voice.

"The students audition to come here to experience two weeks of challenging classes," Ikner said.

Applications are sent out in the fall, and auditions take place in the spring for high school students. The program teaches students to become more self-reliant, and they're challenged by learning more material in a shorter amount of time.

"They're tasked with finding their own source of inspiration and their own self motivation," Iknew said. "Their own presence and their own confidence."

Ashanti Day is in her second year enrolled in PAVAN, and said the vocal program has helped her out.

"We take up to six hours to focus just on music," Day said. "Which helps develop the music more properly, rather than being in a public school program where it isn't as much focused on."

Ikner said the program has grown every year and that it will help these students out in the future.

"That carries with them anywhere they go," she said. "Not in just the arts, but any job, any college. Our students are going to be very confident, self-reliant students that can take these skills to anywhere they choose to go."

The program wraps up on Friday with a graduation ceremony where the parents can come and check out the progress the students have made over the past two weeks.

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