Students practice their artistic skills at BHS

Regional Fine Arts brings students together to bond over their love of the arts.

Michael Tenney, Staff Writer

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Creativity in high school students is not something that is necessarily practiced in their everyday classes, but with programs such as RFA, students are able to express their talent freely.

Regional Fine Arts (RFA) is a place for students at Biddeford High School to practice their artistic skills and express their creative energy through taking classes in their chosen genre, while still taking the courses they need throughout their high school career. RFA advisor Jessica Larson is passionate about her involvement with RFA.

“There are five genres we [RFA advisors] offer, we offer oil painting [taught by Tim Clorius], we offer dance [taught by Heather Torno], we offer writing [taught by Andrew Periale], we offer vocal [taught by Melissa Manseau], and theatre [taught by Linda Sturdivant],” Larson said.

Each of the five genres are filled with about three students from each of the six schools that participate in Regional Fine Arts; Old Orchard Beach, Noble, Bonny Eagle, Marshwood, Massabesic, and Biddeford High School.

Meeting new students from across the region, freshman Adrianna Jordan is enjoying the experience of dancing in RFA.

“I got to meet a lot of new people, make new friends, and learn different dances so it opened me up to a new environment and a whole new perspective of dance,” Jordan said.

Jordan had been dancing nine years prior to joining RFA.

“When Mrs. Larson came to me about it I instantly went to it [the program] because my passion is dance,” Jordan said.

Typically, freshmen don’t get into RFA due to all the upperclassmen that apply.

“We do like freshmen to apply because if they don’t get in, then I remember their names and I keep their applications so I know that they’re really interested,” Larson said.

Senior Reed Gordon danced for RFA throughout his high school career.

“I’m trying to make it not sound cliché [but], it’s been a real fun ride,” Gordon said.

The students meet with their division to practice with their divisions once or twice a month.

“We have 9 sessions or 9 classes spread out from October to March, but they’re 4 hours each session,” said Larson. “So they miss pretty much three blocks of the school day.”

While many people may apply to become a part of RFA, Gordon doesn’t recommend it to just anyone.

“I would only recommend it to anyone that has a desire to learn more about a specific art field,” Gordon said.

Year-to-year, the students who take on RFA experience a whole new dynamic of their division and learn a variety of techniques.

“The curriculum has changed year-to-year but has always been exciting, new, and fun,” Gordon said.

Having fun in RFA could be a difficult task if the coordinators didn’t bring in the right people to teach the students.

“She [Torno] helped me a lot in learning new things and helping me get welcomed into RFA,” Jordan said.

Larson is happy with the teachers who have guided the students to meet their goals in Regional Fine Arts.

“They all work toward the last session, our 10th session which is what we call our sharing day,” Larson said.

This year, sharing day is on April 8th, and will be taking place in the Little Theatre, showcasing all of the divisions of RFA.

“It’s amazing how much growth they have over the year, and the artists will come up and talk about the group they’ve had,” said Larson. “The dancers will do a few numbers, the vocalists will perform something, so there is something that each genre will offer.”

Sharing day is coming closer, and soon after it will be time to accept new applicants when September comes along.

“We usually only take 3 from each genre, so if I have 5 or 6 people who have applied for vocals or theatre, then we’ll hold auditions,” Larson said.

Those three students however could easily be underclassmen, as upperclassmen have more challenges to face in their high school career.

“Now there are students who don’t apply again because either their schedule is too heavy, they don’t feel like they can balance it, those types of things,” Larson said.

For Gordon, RFA hasn’t been too hard to balance, and encourages more people to become a part of it because, “all RFA is about is kids who have a desire to learn more.”

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