ECHS Night of the Arts 2019

Early College students give artistic expression
By: Todd Martin
Students typically identified for high academic performance expressed deeper, more personal ideas Friday during the Early College High School Night of the Arts.
For the second year, during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas before final exams, students took an evening to read original poetry, to sing, to display visual artwork and photography and to do it together as a community.
“Art inspires life in all of us,” said Early College English teacher Chad Pettit, explaining the value of the special evening. “Without it, life would be very boring.”
This year’s event, hosted at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, allowed students to display their work on three levels in a spread-out setting that included song and verse overlapping with a gallery walk and refreshments.
On the second floor, numerous acrylic paintings bore the name of senior Sydney Martinez.
Mostly a self-taught artist, Martinez said she begins with sketches that grow into colorful art pieces. The Night of the Arts was the first time her work was on display for a large audience.
Pointing out pieces and answering questions, the artist explained that a green dragon began with a friend’s request for a birthday party decoration.
Several other pieces, she said, were part of a developing novel she’s working on. One, a skeleton adorned with plant life, spoke to the mystery and beauty that can surround death.
Another artist, junior Meliokalani Kaholo, showcased a series of three colorful acrylic painting depicting an artist creating a scene with spray paint that turned into an active, swirling world.
The three scenes, she said, showed chaos transforming to order. “It’s untitled,” she said, “so you can decide what you see.”
Early College High School students also read their own poems, sang songs and displayed photography and written works.
Juniors Keyonna Dorvil and LaQuaje Bradley led the committee that planned and executed the event. They welcomed guests and praised their peers for contributing.
“Tonight is all about art,” Bradley said. “I write poetry. Everyone should be able to show who they are.”
“We all have our own form,” said Dorvil. “Art allows us to express feelings – love, sadness, happiness – it tells a story. I think this is amazing. I’m proud of all of us.”
Pettit, the teacher who first presented the idea for an art night a year ago, praised his students’ work and ownership in the event and also the school’s strong relationship with Central Texas College and Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
“We focus a lot on academics,” the teacher said. “It’s important to have a creative outlet and as you can see our students are very talented.”