Photo Courtesy of Yunuen Bonaparte
California School of the Arts

Things an arts high school education taught me

To embrace risk-taking (the good kind)

Over the course of my year at CSArts, I watched my friends step out of their comfort zones, meet new people, try new things, and take risks in their art. We risked the comfort of the familiarity of our old schools to be here, and we continued to try new things every day. We had the chance to try taekwondo, jazz, ballet, tap, and ceramics in the place of regular P.E. courses.

Photo courtesy of Yunuen Bonaparte


Sitting in the dress rehearsal for our Season Finale, I was impressed by how far my peers and I came since the start of the year. I was reminded of all the times my peers stayed at school until 10 at night rehearsing, or of all the times they spent weekends or lunches practicing their art to be able to give us the best performances. Watching my fellow poets turn their art into an act during the weekend rehearsals after a year of trying new genres and bouncing back from rejection, I was reminded of the grit and perseverance all my peers have shown both academically and in their arts. Watching bits and pieces of the Season Finale from monitors backstage, I reminded of all the work everyone dedicated over the course of the year to get to where they were.

Photo courtesy of Yunuen Bonaparte

Acceptance, Support, and Love

Although art schools are known for being liberal, the level of acceptance goes beyond just being “liberal.” Between carrying a hamburger backpack with a hot dog duffel bag to openly sharing their personal stories in an English workshop, an arts high school environment made it possible to have a safe space to do both and be anyone we wanted to be.

Photo Courtesy of Yunuen Bonaparte

Never before had I seen students feel everything so deeply, daring to be vulnerable and sharing a part of themselves with us through their art. There was so much love and support between friends and the students and their teachers that I had never seen anywhere else. Everyone was unafraid to share their honest selves. In the honesty, I learned how to love my community for the humanity it shared beyond the accomplishments we’ve reached together.

Photo courtesy of Yunuen Bonaparte

One year ago today, our school was just a vision. On May 27, we celebrated our first year as a school with our peers from all conservatories at Season Finale. Today concludes the last day of the first year the CSArts community has existed.

The lessons that an arts high school education has offered me an opportunity to grow in ways that could not have been possible under a regular high school setting. It helped me envision a future where I would be free to choose my own path and be my own person. It gave me a unique and irreplaceable support system that allows me to believe in myself.

An arts high school education is more than just an experience in the arts; it is an experience of growing into your fullest potential.