Roanoke Catholic School investing in fine arts education

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A Roanoke school is investing in fine arts adding new programs and eventually a new building on campus.

"This choir is my life and I love singing. It's my favorite thing to do, my hobby," said Ajlice Radjou, a Roanoke Catholic School student.

Students arrive early to sing in the school choir. Parent and choir director Michael Hemphill started the group.

Choirs always meant a whole lot to me from my own days in high school and college and ever since then," said Hemphill.

"Forget about everything and just sing. It just eases your mind," said Radjou who sings in three choirs but said the school choir is her favorite.

Hemphill started it last year with just 13 students and now there are more than 30.

"Being able to get them that outlet where they can say this is me, this is my voice, this is where I belong enables them to then continue that success throughout the school day," said Hemphill.

In a time when many schools are scaling back on fine arts Roanoke Catholic is creating more options. In the next five years there will be a new building on campus with room for performing arts and a black box theater.

Theater is completely new this year.

"The thing that excites me is that by the time the kids graduate they're going to have exposure to all these different areas but typically they wouldn't have in independent school," said Patrick Patterson, who oversees Roanoke Catholic.

More than 60 kids from pre-k through 12th grade have signed up for theater giving students a new outlet.

"Fine arts I would say has changed my life in so many different ways," said Radjou.

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