After our alumni party two weeks ago, I was telling a friend about a trio of former students who are now a lawyer, a nuclear physicist/risk analyst, and a software developer. “But wait,” my buddy said, “I thought you were an arts school.”
That’s a fair comment to make, because I spent the summer bragging about the extraordinary year our alums have had: two Grammys, several chart-topping songs, a film at Sundance, a lead role in Hamilton… (just to name a few). Extraordinary professional artistic success often comes for the young people who immerse themselves deeply in our world-class arts program.
But that’s not the all that happens, or even the most important thing. Our students develop an extraordinary capacity for two of the most important things in life: imagination, and community.
The capacities for imagination and community open incredible doors for our kids. For every alum who’s on Broadway, in Rolling Stone, or on Saturday Night Live, there’s Celine—who’s traveling the world with Doctors without Borders, and Dylan—who’s teaching special education, and Supreme—whose activism and impact has been covered by the Tribune, CNN, and NPR. Each speaks to the breathtaking array of ways our students end up making their mark on the world.
Parents: your kids are going to set foot into their futures well prepared to make a difference in whatever field they choose to pursue. Many will become great artists. Others will make their mark in the sciences, or the humanities, or business. And some will have a career that didn’t exist 20 years ago—or a career that doesn’t even exist right now. But they will all be well equipped to do powerful things, because the work they do here really matters.
This is an extraordinary time for our school. By any measure—from the artistic, professional, and personal successes above, to the $21 million in scholarships our seniors have won over the past four years, to the record-setting ACT scores that just rolled in—our educational program has never been stronger or more powerful.
Important strategies for recruitment, fundraising, and building visibility are in place, and in the coming days we will confirm plans for an all-school “showcase” performance in February, a Gala fundraiser in May, a robust summer program in June, and numerous other important initiatives along the way. In the meantime, we are thrilled to debut our new website, which will support all of these efforts in a beautiful, compelling, and easy-to-use way.
And, perhaps most importantly, the freshmen in the Class of 2020—along with our new sophomore and junior transfers—are completing their first day of classes. Welcome, friends: you are now part of the soul of an extraordinary community.
Every Academy family has made a sacrifice to be here, and I am honored by your commitment and your trust. We thank you for choosing The Chicago Academy for the Arts. Here’s to a wonderful school year!
Head of School