The Stellar Appeal of the Hall International Academy
Story by Kirk Walton
Photography by Pete Grady and Hailey Jackson
Hall International Academy is a truly new kind of school. In this one building, they have brought together a high-caliber college preparatory academic program and coupled it with a world-class fine arts program delivered by passionate professionals on both fronts. Add to this the global perspective that comes from working side-by-side with students from all over the world and you have the makings of a one of a kind high school experience.
“We believe the purpose of a school should be to give students all the tools necessary to leave with a firm understanding of who they are, what they can accomplish and the tools to make it happen. We do not simply impart information, but teach how to be discerning, intelligent, thoughtful and skilled. We want them to understand the world, their place in it and to find the source for their impact within it,” says Laurie Hall, Executive Director of the Academy.
By educating the “whole student,” the school hopes to connect students to their creative and artistic sides by integrating these aspects into the traditional classroom experience. The schedule is designed with how students learn in mind. All academic classes are held in the morning, before lunch. They see their academic teachers every day. The afternoons are dedicated to long art blocks based on the student’s area of emphasis; whether that be visual arts, music, drama or dance. “By giving the students three hours to focus on a specific discipline we are building stamina, focus and skill levels unavailable in typical school setting.”
The school’s motto is “Expression. Artistry. Impact.” Their mission is to provide as many opportunities as possible for the students to express themselves academically, artistically and socially. Take that expression and elevate to the highest level possible. Then they will have the skills to create an impact in whatever direction they choose to take their lives. Seek excellence in all that you do. Appreciate that which you do well- and that which others do well, and learn from those things that are hard. “Life is about working as part of team, it is project-based. Education should be approached from the same place.” The amazing teachers bringing this program to light will include: Jessie Nilo, professional artist and graphic designer. Justin Nielen, piano extraordinaire; Heidi LuMaye, national Dance Director, Dee Sienknecht, choir leader, professional vocalist and piano teacher. Micah Claffey, Symphony cellist and film professional Catrine McGregor (see insert).
Each year, the entire school takes a number of trips with a cultural, educational or artistic focus. The school year begins with a mountain retreat where the students get to know each other and the staff. Time is taken to set goals, make long term plans experience the talent of each of the students. This year students will be going to Seattle for an art trip and to Coeur D’Alane for science and history.
Not only does this travel make what the students are learning in classroom real and tangible, but gives the International students a much more intimate look at the diversity and experience of what it means to live in America.
Students are also given real-world, hands on experience with various performance opportunities. Whether it be performing in a coffee shop, or as the featured entertainment at local venues; through entry in local art shows to headlining their own showcase, these students receive practical opportunities for exhibition, feedback and practice.
Besides traditional enrollment, the school also offers a phenomenal afterschool arts program that is open to the community.
For more information, or to register for any of the programs, visit: www.hallacademy.org.
Film industry Award-winning Catrine McGregor heads the Film and Theater program for Hall International Academy. Master classes include
- A class for students and parents about The Business of the Film Business: headshots resumes, agents, managers, pilot season in LA
- Voice Over Training and opportunities for actors of all ages
- AND… a stunt class/Q&A with actor/stunt coordinator Don Shanks, Michael Myers in HALOWEEN V, the hook in I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and NAKOMA in Grizzly Adams. Don’t miss this great opportunity!
- The ten-week after school program consists of the following classes, all taught by respected individuals in their field:
- Musical Theater (any age, by audition only)
- Acting for Film and TV (over 13)
- Acting for the Stage (over 13)
- Screenwriting (over 13)
- Shakespeare for Teens (over 13)
- Theater Acting and Production (under 13)
- Film Acting (under 13)