WVWC president Dr. James Moore and Notre Dame High School Principal Kelly Light sign an agreements delineating the partnership between the two institutions. / Photos by Monica Zalaznik

Notre Dame High School, WVWC formalize partnership to enhance creative, performing arts education

BUCKHANNON – Notre Dame High School and West Virginia Wesleyan College will collaborate to enhance students’ exposure to the creative and performing arts.

Representatives from Notre Dame and WVWC signed an agreement during a luncheon Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the college outlining their new partnership.

“The agreement we’re signing actually begins the process of Notre Dame High School having an employee from West Virginia Wesleyan College working directly at the high school,” Vice President for Enrollment Management at West Virginia Wesleyan College John Waltz said. “2022 Wesleyan graduate Pippa McGinley will facilitate Notre Dame’s ‘Shamrocks’ show choir shows and [will work] in preparation for musical theater, theatrical productions and competitions.”

WVWC will also give Notre Dame students space for three performances each year.

“We’re hoping to be able to have the students on campus performing and their families being hosted here at the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts and associated facilities,” Waltz said. “Notre Dame students will also be eligible for scholarship opportunities through Wesleyan and will interact regularly with Wesleyan faculty, staff and students to learn more about the arts, the college application process, the financial aid process and much, much more.”

John Waltz, vice president for enrollment management, speaks at Wednesday’s press conference.

Future projects include teaming up to develop dual-credit and college courses, performances with West Virginia Wesleyan ensembles, arts camps and intensives on campus.

Dr. James Moore, interim president of West Virginia Wesleyan College, said this partnership was important to him on a personal level.

“This is really exciting for me personally, as a musician, as an artist myself, and somebody who spent the first almost 15 years of my time here at Wesleyan teaching musicians,” Moore said. “COVID has been really challenging for everybody, but it has been especially challenging for performing artists.”

Dr. James Moore, WVWC’s interim president, addresses attendees at Wednesday’s announcement.

Moore said he personally witnessed the toll COVID-19 took on musicians and performing artists of all sorts.

“I’ve personally seen the impact that all the turbulence had among people from my own world as a jazz musician, trying to make sense of it all, trying to find opportunities to continue to make art, trying to find the space and places to showcase that art and to stay connected to other artists – it’s been a real slog,” he added. “What I think is so wonderful about this is the folks at Notre Dame high school, for the last couple of years, in particular, have leaned further into the importance of performing arts, and that’s a model that all of us can take a lesson from, because it’s not always about dollars and cents; art washes away the dust of everyday life.”

Notre Dame High School Principal Kelly Light said it’s important never to undervalue the arts and the benefits students reap from them.

“We’re very excited to have this opportunity to work with you all, not only just to expand the Performing Arts Conservatory at Notre Dame high school, but also to provide our students with other valuable academic and artistic experiences not only here at Wesleyan, but at Notre Dame,” Light said. “Miss McGinley has absolutely hit the ground running; she’s been a wonderful addition to our staff and she’s been there a week-and-a-half.”

“We’re extremely excited about everything she brings to the table,” she added. “We are also looking forward to working with you all. I know this is an extremely prestigious institution, and you provide a great education for your students and help them prepare for life outside of here, not only through academics but through the importance of service as well.”

Read more about the partnership here.

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