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5 Things to Know Before Joining the DASH Academy

Mar 10, 2020
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If you plan to apply to John A. Ferguson Senior High, it’s important to know that there are many wonderful, diverse academies to choose from. If you are inclined to subjects in the performing arts category, then the DASH academy might be the right fit for you. DASH offers many interesting opportunities to students who have an eye for taking great photographs, a knack for creating amazing ceramic pieces, or a passion for writing articles. With so many different opportunities offered in the DASH program, here are some things to know before grabbing that pink subject selection sheet..

There are many different majors to choose from, not just art

When people hear about “the art academy” many think you have to be talented in the art of holding a paintbrush correctly, however, this is not the case. DASH has many different kinds of majors within it, from TV Production to Ceramics; students are sure to find the kind of art medium that fits them best. Being in the major that best fits your interests allows you to feel a sense of belonging in a group of likeminded individuals. “Being in DASH is feeling accepted. Many kids are more into the medical field, but I got to meet many people interested in the same thing and learn tricks from them,” said senior Stephanie Alvarez. It is important to choose classes you actually enjoy and through the DASH academy, you’ll be able to discover which kind of art expresses your emotions, whether it is writing a poem or singing a song.

Artistic AP classes are offered for a lot of DASH seniors and they can be stressful

Signing up for AP classes can be exciting for many students because it is an opportunity to take college-level course material. However, being in a college-level art class is not always a joyride. Usually, DASH students take these classes in their last year of high school because it can replace the 4th credit to complete their major. Many students think long and hard about this because taking these classes means learning how to compose these forms of art independently, demonstrating your advanced skill in the subject, and at the end of the year, you either have to complete a piece, provide a portfolio, or take an exam, depending on the major. DASH students advise incoming freshmen to take these classes later on in their high school career. Junior Amalia Reyes reflects on her experience taking an AP art class, “I am currently taking AP 2-D Design and I am struggling a little bit. It is a stressful class and coming up with fresh new ideas is difficult, but I try not to get discouraged.”

Taking an AP class your junior or senior year can have many benefits towards your artistic career. As a DASH student myself, I am currently a double major — concentrating in photography and journalism as my two majors. For my senior year, I will be taking AP Photography and even though it could seem stressful and intimidating, if you feel confident in your success as a DASH student, then you should consider signing up for the class. Who knows, there could be many new tricks you could absorb from the classes.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in many different activities (showcases, galleries, performances, competitions, etc.)

 Not only would you be learning about the subject in class, but you will also have the opportunity to be a part of the different activities that occur throughout the year. Throughout the year, the art and photography departments have various galleries, some of the galleries we have had this year were Birthday, eARTh and the End of The Year Showcase that happens every year in the fourth quarter. Dance has its winter and spring shows every year. Choir and band also have their own shows throughout the year, usually every few months (and some teachers offer extra credit for attending). If you’re interested in acting or stage performance, theater might be a good fit for you.  “For Theater, we attend three different competitions every year, along with putting on two productions such as Evening of One Acts and our spring musical,” enthusiastically shared junior Ashley Sanchez. In fact, this 2019-2020 school year, the theater department’s annual spring musical will be High School Musical and their show will run later this week. Through these different events, students learn a lot about how to run and organize events and the commitment that is required to successfully pull off a school-wide event. 

Students have the flexibility to explore their interests

One magical thing about the DASH academy is that students can explore what truly inspires them. Students feel confident in themselves knowing that they are able to advance their performance in certain techniques, through the hand-on experience we gain both in and out of the classroom. When I began in photography freshman year, I was clueless on how to work a camera and what the difference between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot was. Now, I am taking my 3rd year of photography and I must say I have vastly improved my artistic abilities. I have since become vice president of the Events Photography Team and have had two of my photographs featured on XQ’s Instagram.

Those successes are not the most important that I have made. Along the way, I have gained confidence in my work and skill and many students in the DASH academy share the same sentiments. Exploring your interest in the program as a freshman is important in order to grasp an understanding of what each subject means to you. Junior Bianca Ramos shares her best advice to incoming freshman thinking of joining DASH, “As an incoming freshman, my best advice would be to learn as much as you can. Become a sponge and absorb everything the school has to offer to see what you love. I have been in the drama club since sophomore year and I would have definitely joined earlier had I explored.”

Discovering your community can be a beautiful thing that will help make any high school experience more bearable, and DASH offers a welcoming community for all who are artistically-inclined.

Auditions are required in order to join some majors

When applying to Ferguson, some majors may require you to submit a portfolio of your work or come to our campus for auditions. Sometimes, the application states that you need to audition when in reality you might never be asked to. Do not be nervous, these auditions are only to see which student has a natural incline to any subject. Every subject has a different requirement so before submitting anything, first, ask what it is you would need to specifically do. If you need to submit a portfolio, select your best work and turn it in to the school. If you need to go to an audition, make sure you have practiced the piece you will need to perform and sometimes you even have the option to select your own piece. No matter what, there will always be a spot for you at Ferguson’s DASH program!

Now that you have a little bit more information about DASH, take it all in and start researching the many choices you have. Get ready to transform your talent and The Talon staff can’t wait to see you all next fall!

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