In 2012, Susquehanna Township School District’s commitment to the arts inspired the development of the School of the Arts (SOA) program – a forward-thinking, individualized course of study for students interested in the fields of fashion design, performing arts, and the visual arts. Fast forward and you find a program that continues to nurture aspiring young artists, designers, and actors as they prepare for collegiate study, the workforce, or for a career in their chosen field.
What makes the SOA program so special? It’s not just the immersive, conservatory-styled curriculum which pairs high school students with true artist/educators - individuals who are not only dedicated to the success of every student, but also to their own chosen craft. Each artist/educator brings a unique set of skills and experiences to the table to provide a first-hand look into the life of an arts professional. It’s not just the classroom space transformed into a black box studio for small-scale performances, a fashion design workspace where designers learn draping and patternmaking, and hone sewing skills, or the visual arts studio outfitted for both traditional and digital two- and three-dimensional art and design work.
What makes the SOA program so special is that it’s a family. A place where students of like-mindedness belong. A place where they feel safe to explore, push boundaries and take creative risks. A place where their teachers facilitate learning by doing. A place where hard work leads to success.
Embedded into the SOA curriculum you find opportunities for students to network and have works critiqued at National Portfolio Day events; collaborative learning experiences with professional artists, fashion designers and actors; opportunities for high school students to inspire and mentor younger students in the district, and much, much more.
Not only do SOA students get accepted to their first choice in colleges, but they often enter college with scholarships in hand to alleviate the mounting costs of college tuition. SOA students can be found in prestigious programs such as the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Cooper Union, FIT, FIDM – Los Angeles, Maine College of Art, RIT, Ryder College, and Savannah College of Art & Design, among others. We are exceedingly proud of our students and maintain contact as they navigate their post-secondary programs and experiences. They all credit the SOA for keeping them in school, inspiring a love of learning, and preparing them for their future endeavors
Centering Creativity: Susquehanna Township High School’s School of the Arts
By Wendy S. Sweigart
Ms. Sweigart brings a unique background of experiences in the arts to the SOA visual arts program. Before stepping into the classroom, her previous professional experience included working as an education director for an art museum and as a college admissions director for a professional art college, where her role was to determine a student’s readiness for collegiate art studies. As an exhibiting artist/educator, Sweigart shares a passion for visual expression and an understanding of the work ethic necessary for success. Sweigart holds an M.A. in Art Education from Messiah College and a B.S. in Art Education from Kutztown University. She exhibits regularly in the Central Pennsylvania region.