Known for being one of the newest neighborhood schools in the district, Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) continues to provide students with a rigorous academic program as well as prepare students for post-secondary studies, careers and opportunities in the fields of the expressive arts.
“A lot of the students that come here are from the neighborhood,” said principal Debora Borges Carrera. “In addition to offering our students the best education and preparing them for college and careers, we’re also offering them opportunities in various programs including theater and cinematography. We take the interest the students have for the arts and build on it. We all want to see our students excel in academics and in life.”
Kensington CAPA was originally part of Kensington High school. The schools were broken up into smaller schools eight years ago including Kensington CAPA, Kensington Business and Kensington Culinary Arts.
Kensington CAPA moved into a new building in 2010. Neighborhood students who select Kensington CAPA must have an interest in one or more of the following: dance, choir, instrumental music, filmmaking, theater, visual arts. Some of the AP courses offered at Kensington CAPA include Calculus AB, Composition and Environmental Science.
Kensington CAPA made AYP in 2011 and met 80 percent of their targets on their academic report card. The school also has a full-time college access coordinator. Kensington CAPA has won various awards including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum High School (2011) and the Blue Ribbon Commission (2011).
One of the most popular programs at Kensington CAPA is the Film and Cinematography Program, which is a certified CTE program.
“The experience we receive in cinematography is unique because a lot of students don’t get a chance to receive an opportunity like this,” said senior Ahmad Ibrahim. “I’ve learned so much from making beats to filming a documentary. I’ve had great experiences in this class and at Kensington CAPA. I’m looking forward to building on what I learned here.”
The cinematography program teaches kids how to use a video and film camera. Kensington CAPA cinematography teacher Derrick Savage added to the program by including music production, script writing, lighting, producing and directing.
“The students literally do everything in this class from the concept of an idea to actually releasing it to a theater,” Savage said. “I want my students to be inspired and take their ideas and turn them into something. They need to learn that there is a world that exists outside of their community, neighborhood and their head and they can be a part of it.
“When my students first saw the equipment they were intimidated, now their experts. I tell them all the time, when something intimidates them and gets difficult just keep moving forward and before you know it will be behind you.”
For senior Halyya Ngo, cinematography is another way for her to express herself creatively.
“Cinematography allows all of us to express ourselves artistically,” she said. “I’m able to put all this creativity into one piece through video to show everyone who I am and where I come from. Once you see the final product, you just have an amazing feeling, because you know you just created that video. This is a class that I always enjoyed coming too.”
Students normally do their project planning and pre- and post-production in the control room. Music production is also done in the control room, where students use Logic and MCP.
“In the music production program, students learn how to make music,” said junior Aaron Garcia. “They also learn how they can use their music in their videos. Since a lot of students are inexperienced with the music program, they normally come to a student like myself who knows how to use the program.
“From there we will produce what they need for specific shots or the video itself. These programs are very hands-on as well as a good learning experience. All of us make sure we take full advantage of the different opportunities that are given to us.”
In addition to the core curriculum, the school also offers special programs in theater, stage crew, Bible club, academic tutoring, dance, journalism, yearbook and student government.
“The overall experience at Kensington CAPA has been great,” said senior Donisha Perry. “This school offers so many programs and activities. I always wanted to come to a school based in the arts because I like to sing, so this school was perfect for me, plus it’s in my neighborhood.
“Even though I graduate this year, I’m looking forward to building on what I learned here and apply it when I go to college. I’m currently looking into Bloomsburg. Going to this school not only makes you want to become better academically but also personally. We all want to succeed and strive for excellence. Kensington CAPA is not just a school to us, but we’re family.”