Perpich News

Dedication Day 2023

September 19, 2023

Dedication Day 2023 was September 18. Dedication is a Perpich tradition where new students and faculty/staff are welcomed into the Perpich community. The ceremony featured speeches from seniors in all art areas: Elyse Ulmen, Dance; Rowan Hilden, Literary Arts; Grace Mathews, Media Arts; D’Anyka McGee, Music; Maggie Loxtercamp, Theater; Aiyana Beaulieu, Visual Arts.

Elyse Ulmen (Dance 2024) said, “For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with words. Be it written papers, speeches, or just with my everyday conversations, I have a hard time finding the right words to express myself. With dance, I can put what I want to say into my movements and people understand what I am feeling.”

Rowan Hilden (Literary Arts 2024) said, “The secret is that it’s the people that form this community that’s so hard to find. Through the sharing, through the workshopping, through the reading and the writing, we all dedicate ourselves to the class and to the words we love wrangling. You don’t often find fifteen people like that in one room. But when you do, it’s better than a journal. It’s better than a notes app, and it’s even better than a book. It’s a place where you can really, truly, be heard.”

Student speakers at Dedication 2023: Elyse Ulmen, Dance; Rowan Hilden, Literary Arts; Grace Mathews, Media Arts; D’Anyka McGee, Music; Maggie Loxtercamp, Theater; Aiyana Beaulieu, Visual Arts.

Grace Mathews (Media Arts 2024) said, “Commitment, dedication, and community can look like planning, listening, learning, growing, and applying all of that to your art, and yourself to reach your true potential. It can also look like trying new things, giving to your community through your art, making connections, and making room for improvement, not just for your art but for yourself.”

D’Anyka McGee (Music 2024) said, “Being involved in music now means sharing your passion, being able to learn from others, taking constructive criticism, and most importantly, communicating through your heart with the people listening. [My instructors, Kevin and James] have taught me that, and so much about music that made me fall in love with music even more. Their patience, commitment, and their own passions for the way that they are involved in music, inspires me to keep continuing to make and play music, and to make them proud.”

Maggie Loxtercamp (Musical Theater 2024) said, “Through the performing arts, we strive to represent our community while bringing light to important topics and subjects. We use storytelling to inspire, change minds, and to make people think. Being in theater and musical theater has taught me that we have a responsibility to plant seeds in the minds of our audience where they can take our story and message to learn, grow, and discover themselves in different ways. We change lives, one mind at a time.”

Aiyana Beaulieu (Visual Arts 2024) said, “When I first heard about Perpich, I wanted to go to the school right away. I spent a lot of time learning about how everything worked, even taking a tour before I could even apply! I was determined I would attend this school. Now as I attend Perpich, I think about the hours I’ve spent in the building creating, collaborating, and discussing; laughing. I was dedicated to going here, because I knew how that would impact my art and my life. Because, before this school, I wasn’t surrounded by art friends like I am now. Being here and being surrounded by such passionate, driven, talented people has been very positive and I’m so grateful for that.”

The faculty speaker, Jay Melchior (Special Education Teacher), spoke about how dedication and commitment can look very different from person to person. Jay shared his personal dedication to theater and storytelling and how that has taken shape over his career. “Dedication to your art is an act of self-care because you are dedicated to you,” said Melchior. “You are dedicated to who you are and how you communicate, how you move through this life.”

L to R: Kirian Kmiecik (Music 2020), Matthew Wagner (Dance 1999), and Owen Royce (Media Arts 1996) pose together after the Dedication 2023 ceremony.

Our alumni speaker, Matthew Wagner (Dance 1999), is no stranger to speaking at Dedication because when Matthew was a senior, he was the student speaker for Dance. In fact, his speech this year was written on the back of the same note cards he used for his speech in the fall of 1998. “Today is not about me, it’s about us. We’re all weaving the threads of the Perpich story,” said Wagner. “Even decades apart, we share application anticipation, portfolio review and auditions, our five words, Dedication, geese, Common Experience, and [educators] who prepare us to be critical thinkers and responsible art practitioners.” 

Our alumni performer, Owen Royce (Media Arts 1996), screened some of his award-winning short films. When speaking to the audience, he said, “Director and producer are my labels. But Perpich taught me that I’m an artist first.” Kirian Kmiecik (Music 2020) performed music while the audience settled into the space. Bob Frey (Social Studies Instructor) served as emcee. New students and new faculty/staff members received their Arts High School pendants. Following the ceremony, the community celebrated with a reception.

During his emcee speech, Bob Frey said, “I believe Perpich Dedication is a very cool and very unique event, one that has occurred here every fall for many years. So, what is Dedication? In short, Dedication is a ritual, Dedication is an opportunity, and Dedication is a promise. Dedication is when we, as the Perpich community, come together to publicly state our commitment – both individually and collectively – to our art, to our time, to our community, and to all that is Perpich.”

Perpich Arts High School Principal, Rebecca Bullen, said, “This day, our pep rally, homecoming, heart of the work we do…left me inspired, so full and incredibly grateful. It also left me driven, driven to work harder to get this message out there and provide this opportunity to more young artists.”