Chaney’s Creative Start With Youngstown State

Youngstown State University professor Cicilia Yudha teaches high school students piano at Chaney High School as a part of the collaboration between Chaney and YSU.
Youngstown State University professor Cicilia Yudha teaches high school students piano at Chaney High School as a part of the collaboration between Chaney and YSU.

Chaney High School is working in collaboration with the College of Creative Arts and Communication to operate Creative Start — a program that gives high school students an opportunity to experience the college lifestyle.

The partnership between Chaney’s Visual and Performing Arts program and Youngstown State University began during the 2013-2014 academic school year. Creative Start’s goal is to introduce high school students who are seriously considering a career in the arts to a higher education setting.

Tracy Schuler-Vivo serves as the VPA coordinator for Chaney and is a member of YSU’s CCAC Community Advisory Board.

“The Creative Start workshops align perfectly with the mission of the VPA program as together we work to prepare students for college, conservatories and the professional arts world. Therefore, we are thrilled to be partnering with YSU in this endeavor,” Schuler-Vivo said.

Schuler-Vivo said she expects Chaney students to walk away with a clear understanding of what it will be like to pursue a degree in the creative arts and communication field.

“I hope that this partnership will expand the horizons of our VPA students and continue to cultivate the wonderful relationship that VPA has with YSU,” she said. “We look forward to working closely with YSU’s Creative Start and participating in the workshops twice each school year.”

Bryan DePoy, dean of the CCAC, added that the partnership takes a proactive step to aid in college preparedness by connecting emerging artists with skilled faculty.

“I am very pleased and excited to see faculty in the College of Creative Arts & Communication work so closely with faculty and students at Chaney High School,” DePoy said. “We are fortunate to have teachers and a director at the high school who understand that we can partner to better serve the unique instruction and pedagogical needs of those studying the arts.”

Cicilia Yudha, assistant professor and coordinator of keyboard musicianship, said she hopes YSU can offer collaborations such as this with other schools in the Mahoning Valley.

“I believe this program prepares students to be musically literate and introduces them to the fundamental discipline of learning music,” Yudha said. “My hope is that after two to three years of taking class piano (and theory), Chaney students will be able to enter a music school with better understanding of the field.”

Yudha also said the ability to read music and the capability to play an instrument adds another channel for students to express themselves and it will benefit their development as musicians.

“We are contributing to the health of our community and our university by paying closer attention to the younger generation,” she said. “If our high school students are more engaged in their studies and disciplines, our incoming freshmen students will be even stronger candidates.”

Chaney students participated in their first workshop in February; the next Creative Start workshop will begin fall 2014.