Maxine Greene, an American educational philosopher and author, once wrote, “The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.” For one student from Rowan County Senior High School, this past summer was one that he described as “transformative.” It was an intense time of learning and an experience that he will remember for many summers to come. Jordan Whittaker, son of Doris and Paul Kidd, spent three weeks of his summer taking part in the annual Governor’s School for the Arts, meeting new challenges head on and making memories that will last a lifetime.
The Governors School for the Arts offers to high school juniors and seniors in-depth instruction in a variety of art disciplines. They can range from architecture and creative writing to drama and visual art. The intensive 3-week hands-on arts program, held for the first time this year on the campus of Centre College, provides the most talented students from across the Commonwealth to come together to learn more about their craft and develop their skills. While over 1600 students audition each year for a coveted spot in the GSA program, Jordan Whittaker was part of the select group of students, over 200 young men and women from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky, who were chosen to participate in the Governors School for the Arts.
Jordan’s three weeks at GSA were spent honing his musical theatre skills, remarking, “I love to perform and I was lucky enough to be selected for the program.”
He then added, “GSA is different for each art form, but it is very busy. You watch a performance every morning. Then you work on your art form until 10:30 PM or you watch a performance at night.”
With Jordan using the word “transformative” to describe his GSA experience, he described it even further by stating, “The Governor’s School for the Arts instills values within you that push to be a better person. Almost every student leaves the program feeling changed.”
Students that have participated in the Governor’s School for the Arts often speak of memories that will last them for a lifetime. For Jordan, the best memory was connecting with people who shared his passion for musical theatre. The most challenging part of GSA for Jordan was “having to cram so much into each day. The expectations were very high.” He also noted that his experience at GSA only made him more determined than ever to have a career in theatre.
When asked if he would recommend the GSA experience to other students, Jordan did not hesitate to answer. He highly recommended the GSA experience to “every student who is passionate about their art.” He then added, “It was the best experience of my life.”
Part of the lyrics from “All That Matters” from the musical “Finding Neverland” could be the theme for Jordan Whittaker after his 3-week experience at the Governor’s School for the Arts – “All that matters now is where I go from here.” Good luck, Jordan.
For more information about the Governor’s School for the Arts, please contact RCSHS Guidance Counselor Kellyn Gussler at 784-8956.