What parents say about the Cathedral Arts Project

“Matthew never liked school; he said to me continuously before his CAP classes, “I hate school. Do I have to go back?” From kindergarten to third grade all he could tell me was that he hated school. Then he enrolled in violin. He would remember his days for practice. When he forgot his violin he would call me at work and ask me to bring it to him during my half hour lunch. The arts were instrumental to him finally liking school. He had, finally, something to look forward to. I never heard my son talk positively about school until violin lessons. It made school fun.”

“Her self-confidence has improved and the recital is looked forward to all year.”

“Her grades have greatly improved. The program has made her know that there is nothing she can’t do. She has worked very hard. Thank you for bringing this program to my child’s school.”

“This gives her the chance to show her creativity.”

“Having a creative outlet meets a real need that left unmet is counterproductive to being able to stay focused. The imagination has been turned on. There is less ‘I need to be entertained’ and more ‘I have an idea.’ Jordan struggles with a disability and has difficulty making friends. This program is so positive – he feels good about his work and looks forward to each class. Thank you.”

What students say about the Cathedral Arts Project

“When I play the violin, it makes me feel really good inside.”

“Art inspires me to make better paintings and explore who I am.”

“CAP helped me get on the AB honor roll!”

“Last year I didn’t do so well in math, and this year, I’ve improved.”

“My CAP teacher checks my report card all the time. It helps me work harder in school, because I would do anything to stay in my CAP class!”

“Because of CAP, I’ll be going to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, a magnet high school, next year.”

What CAP teaching artists say about the Cathedral Arts Project

A student in my class was not matching pitch. I directed him in a vocal exercise so that he could “find” the notes! He was frustrated and embarrassed. He blurted out, “I can’t do anything right. I’ll just quit.” With gentle firmness, I said to him, “No. You won’t quit. I won’t let you give up on yourself.” The other students with compassion rallied around the student (Joseph) in support. I heard these comments:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “Ms. Denson likes mistakes anyway.”
  • “She wants us to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.”

It was a touching moment. Somehow in just a few weeks within this chorus authentic, meaningful relationships have formed – we are family. At the next rehearsal, the student actually matched pitch!

Back in November, I had a fifth grader whose grades had taken a dive. She was pulled from dance because of GPA for about three weeks. When she was able to reenter class, she told me that it would not happen again, and when report cards came out, she showed me it was all A’s and B’s.

She was so proud, and she brings me all of her test scores now. I think it is a great example of the positive effect arts and academics can have when they come together.

Last winter, I had a desire to increase the cardiovascular benefits of my dance students, so I added jump rope to the class curricula. I borrowed the equipment from the school and got an instructional tape out of the library and began to teach it in my class room.

To my surprise, I found that many of the students in my class had never jump roped before and had trouble picking it up – one girl in particular who I will call Julie.

Julie was feeling very discouraged. She was overweight and often teased by other students, and she expressed an interest in dropping the class. She didn’t though, and at the end of the year in May, she approached me. “Teacher,” she said. “I want to show you something.”

She had brought a jump rope with her to class and started demonstrating a perfect jump rope routine. She told me that she had been practicing in secret for the past five months and was very excited to show her teacher how good she had become. I was almost brought to tears.

Today, Julie has come out of her shell. She is a happy and involved student and loves to participate in her dance class.

I believe that a transformation has occurred with Julie and her family, and this is in large part due to her participation in CAP. Her brother has since joined the class as a 3rd grader, and Julie’s mother is very active as a volunteer for the class.