Artistic Students Have a Home at the Arts High School Program


Arts High School is a program for high school students with artistic abilities. Starting in January, said students are transported to Middlesex County College every Tuesday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Arts High School program began in 1969 as a county arts council and has since then worked on emphasizing the importance of the arts for students. Middlesex County began the Arts High Program in 1980.

Students must apply and  be selected for the program.  Classes run from January through May and students must attend one session per week for a 14 week session. Students attending Arts High are released on their designated day to attend class at Arts High, but students are responsible for making up any missing assignments from their regularly scheduled classes.

There are a variety of classes to be held, from writing to drawing as well as different forms of music and dancing. The majority of these classes offer prospective students college credits as well. Students aren’t automatically accepted into the program however, one must audition first and then a decision is made by a group of judges. Every year students must fill out forms regarding which class they’d like to audition for and send them in before November 15th along with the audition fees. Auditions vary depending on the class, however for most it is pertinent that you have a portfolio of some sort beforehand to provide the judges.

Ms. Lombardi, an art teacher at Colonia High School also believes that the Arts High Program is efficient. She believes that the program relies more on establishing technical skills rather than conceptual development. Ms. Lombardi said, “students who take those classes definitely have an advantage on their side.”

Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties participate in the Arts High program. Colonia High School students who are inducted into the program attend classes at Middlesex County College. Colonia High School provides transportation for students to and from classes. Students leave during the school day and return after school. However, students are responsible for any work they may miss during class, a meek negative point amongst positive ones.

This program isn’t exactly a break from school however; art is a serious thing as the students who are in the program already know. This course is treated as a professional course, the fact that college credits are up for grabs are proof of that. Students who partake in this program are also subject to grades. The grading system used by Middlesex County College though isn’t like the grading system here at Colonia. There are four grades to be received, Honors, Good, Pass, or Fail. Grades are determined by the work completed in class, and they are highly significant.

Adrianna Daniel, a freshman at Colonia High School who takes part in the acting programs they have at Arts High, explained that the program has helped her make new friends and learn new acting skills. “I’ve learned to study characters better.” This is still her first year in Theater Arts 1, however she has already learned much from this program.