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FCS receives three art grants for schools

Three Franklin County Schools will be receiving extra funding to go toward art programs thanks to three different grants provided by the Alabama State Department of Education.

The grants will allocate $25,000 toward music and visual arts at Tharptown Elementary School, $25,000 toward music at Belgreen High School and $10,000 to Vina High School’s theater program. Vina was able to launch the program because of the grant funding.

“So many children learn in different ways, so the arts is really an area where we are able to reach different students,” said Franklin County Schools grant writer Susan Hargett. “We love that we are able to provide this for our students now.”

VHS theater and English teacher Sarah Jane Hattaway said it has been a blessing to be able to build the theater department at VHS thanks to last year’s grant, and this year’s grant will only aid in making the program even better.

“Now we will be able to add to our shows and really give our kids the best,” Hattaway said.

Hattaway said last year’s grant from the state department went to purchase microphones, and the grant this year will purchase stage lighting and sound equipment.

“This is awesome because being a small school, we don’t have a lot of options for our kids,” Hattaway said. “For those kids who aren’t into playing instruments or sports but want to put themselves out there in some way, this might be the avenue for them. If we didn’t have this program, they might have never known they enjoy the stage.”

For BHS, this grant from the state department will help save the current music program.

“Right now we are at the very end of our funding from a previous grant, so we have had to look at possibly cutting the program,” said BHS Principal Derek Ergle. “This grant allows us to not only continue to keep our music program but hopefully add onto what we can do with it.”

Ergle said with the additional grant money, BHS is looking at bringing back its choir program and possibly adding concerts for the community.

“We are very thankful because we have seen the benefit this has been for our students,” Ergle said.

TES will be using the funding to add visual art and music instruction for students.

TES Principal Karen Thorn said most likely the school will hire one teacher to teach art to students for one semester and a different teacher to teach music to students the next semester.

Thorn said students would have instruction in art or music one day a week, with each grade receiving instruction on a different day.

“This is going to allow our students to explore some of their own talents that they might not have known they had,” Thorn said. “We think this is going to be great for our kids, and we are excited for it.”

Hargett said Franklin County Schools Superintendent Greg Hamilton and the Board of Education are committed to bringing art education to students to give them a chance to learn in a different way.