Two students and one faculty member in the Academy of the Arts at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith received special recognition in an end-of-the-year awards ceremony for the Academy.
Alexa Meyers and Christian Parker, both of Fort Smith, were recognized for their long-term participation in the Academy program.
Meyers is the daughter of Samuel and Kimberlee Meyers of Fort Smith. She is a tenth grade student at Southside High School. Parker is the son of Kyle and Renee Parker of Fort Smith. He is an eighth grade student at Chaffin Junior High.
“They began when we began,” said Rosilee Walker Russell of Fort Smith, the executive director of the Academy. “I’m proud of these students for persevering and staying committed to the program.”
An award for outstanding service as part of the Academy faculty went to Alice Brooks Sanders of Shawnee, Okla., who has taught piano to students of all ages for many years. She’s a native of Texas and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Sanders has performed as a soloist, recitalist and accompanist. She is a member of and adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers and a member of the Music Teachers National Association and the American Guild of Organists.
Sanders is a certified Musikgarten preschool teacher. In addition to teaching, she serves as the director of music ministry at the United Presbyterian Church in Shawnee, Okla.
Also receiving special recognition were eight other students who have participated in the Academy for more than five years.
6 year recognition:
Charleston: Delaney Wells, an 11th grade student at Charleston High School
Elena Guerra, a seventh grade student at Trinity Junior High; Arman Hemmati, an 11th grader at Southside High School; Greyson Meyers, a sixth grade student at Christ the King School; Rylee Norton, a sixth grade student at Immaculate Conception School; Mallory Rush, a 10th grade student at Southside High School; and Alexandra Salamone, an eighth grade student at Chaffin Junior High.
5 year award:
Fort Smith: Francesca Rossi, a sixth grade student at Immaculate Conception School.
Dr. Ray Wallace of Fort Smith, provost and senior vice chancellor, who spoke at the ceremony, said he believes the Academy programs are meeting a community educational need.
"We are impacting these children and teens in positive ways now and for whatever they do in the future," said Wallace. "Obviously, we would like to see them attend UAFS one day, but no matter where they are, their time at the Academy will have been beneficial to them."
The Academy has a curriculum of activities geared to children and teens. It currently offers a preschool program, instrumental ensembles, choral and theatre programs, private music lessons and an art program. Summer programs and camps are also on the schedule. Activities are available for ages 1 through 18.
Matthew Farrar and Christopher Ha, both of Fort Smith, gave violin performances during the program. Farrar and Ha now attend UAFS and are current Academy students as part of the Youth Honor Symphony Orchestra. Other Academy music and theatre students also performed.
For more information about the Academy, contact Russell at 479-788-7546 or call administrative specialist Sarah Taylor, 479-788-7253.