GCAA Class of 2017 is second in school history, graduation is May 21

Seniors at Grand Center Arts Academy are ready to experience a moment they’ve dreamed of since they enrolled in a school designed for academics and creativity – graduation.  

As the second class in school history, the Class of 2017 continues to set the path for students to follow.

Grand Center Arts Academy will celebrate commencement on May 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the Sun Theater with 95 students – 91 seniors and four juniors who are early graduates.

Many of the students have attended GCAA since sixth grade, when the school held classes at Third Baptist Church, a few blocks away. GCAA opened in 2010-2011 with grades 6-7. In 2011-2012, the school moved to its present location, the Beaux Arts Building, across from Powell Symphony Hall.

To date, students have reported more than $2 million in scholarships. The awards are a mix of arts and merit-based.

“The schools offering scholarships represent art institutes, conservatories and universities from across the country,” said Erica Snelson, guidance and college counselor. “Most of the big scholarships are from art schools because the tuition is so high. The values of the awards are for a four-year period. One student has a $30,000 a year scholarship, making it worth $120,000.”

Included among the scholarship recipients are three students who qualified for the Missouri Bright Flight Award for scoring 30 or better on the ACT – seniors Isabella Farmer and Anastasia Roth, and junior Greta Stiegler, who is an early graduate. Six students are Missouri A+ Program scholars, who qualify for tuition assistance at any two-year community college in the state.

Having such a significant amount of scholarship awards is meaningful. “I believe it shows that our students have plenty of academic and artistic talent, and have many opportunities,” said Snelson.

Students were accepted to colleges such as Harris-Stowe State University, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri, University of Missouri-Kansas City, St. Louis Community College, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, University of New Mexico, Tennessee State University, Academy of Art University, Columbia College-Chicago, Savannah College of Art and Design, Fordham University, Maryville University, Kansas City Arts Institute and many others.

Grand Center Arts Academy is the first performing and visual arts public charter school in Missouri. Classes include core curriculum of math, science, English language arts and social studies, as well as dance, music, visual arts and theater. GCAA is a Confluence Charter School. It’s a separate local education agency sponsored by Saint Louis University.

Photos from Class of 2016 commencement ceremonies, courtesy of Confluence Charter Schools