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September 1, 2014, 12:35 pm

Creativity welcomed at Bache Martin Elementary

Enter an art room at Bache Martin Elementary School and you will see eighth graders Tatiana Scott and Dayzha Hunter working on their art projects.

“We recently finished our ceramic masks,” Scott said. “We put Vaseline on our faces first, we then took the plaster and dipped them into water and put them on our faces. We let it sit for a couple of minutes and then it got hard. A few days later, we had to paint it. It was a good way for us to describe who we were as a person. Instead of saying who we are and what we are about, we just let the art piece talk for itself.”

In addition to describing herself, Hunter’s mask also described her dreams and ambitions.

“My inspiration for my mask was my different personalities as well as my dreams,” Hunter said. “I think every person has different sides to them and that is clearly displayed on my mask. One of the things that stand out on my mask is the word NYC. When I grow up I want to move to New York City and become an actress.”

Bache Martin’s goal is to provide all students with the academic, technological and social skills needed to be productive and contributing citizens in our society. The school goes from kindergarten to the eighth grade.

“We try to incorporate great programs outside of the community that will link with our curriculum,” said principal Yvette Duperon. “The success of the school has been a collective effort with our various partnerships, the community, teachers, staff, parents, and administrators. We want to provide our students with the best overall academic excellence. Through are curriculum and programs we give our students the best opportunity to succeed academically and grow personally.”

Bache Martin has various partnerships with organizations throughout the city including the Philadelphia Zoo, the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a part of the Art Speaks Program, Temple University as a part of the Conflict Resolution Program, and the University of the Arts.

The school also has a partnership the Walnut Street Theatre’s through the Adopt-A-School program. Through the program, students and faculty members receive many unique opportunities to use theatre's resources, including in-school performances and workshops.

“I’m very creative and I love to act, so being in a class where you can read a script or re-enact a play is a wonderful thing,” said eighth-grader Haniel Lee. “It’s all about tapping into your creativity. We get a chance to express ourselves. It’s a unique situation that we’re in, because not a lot of other schools get an opportunity like this. We’re all taking full advantage of it.”

The program’s mission is to create a theatre-based curriculum by improving students' dramatic skills and guiding teachers through every aspect of producing a theatre performance. Bache Martin is currently in year one of a five-year partnership with the Walnut Street Theatre.

“I never was actually interested in the arts, but the theatre classes here has really opened my eyes,” said eighth-grader Konstantina Angelis. “I enjoy the classes that I take and it gives me an opportunity to express myself in another way. I’m a shy person, so it definitely takes me out of my comfort zone a little bit, but I embrace the challenge and the opportunity.”

Eighth-grader Sarai Ford loves to act, so participating in the theatre program was an opportunity to build on her talent.

“This program will definitely help you grow as an actor or actress,” Ford said. “The program is very hands-on and pushes all of us to our creative limits. It’s fun and I’ve learned a lot so far. I’m looking forward to building on what I learned.”

For third-grader Kasey Boddie, participating in the theatre program is exciting.

“Going to the Walnut Street Theatre class gives us a chance to act,” Boddie said. “It’s exciting because I like to act and sing. I haven’t participated in any plays yet, but I’m learning how to through the program. I would be interested in doing plays later on. I really like the class and my school.”

Some other points of pride at Bache Martin include the Reading Olympics, Playworks, the Philadelphia Orchestra School Partnership Program, ArtWell, Clay Studio, and the Barnes Foundation.

The Philadelphia Orchestra program cultivates students’ knowledge and love of orchestral music, develops students’ perceptive and creative skills and helps parents and teachers bring classical music into their homes and classrooms.

A Philadelphia Orchestra teaching artist has a regular presence in participating classrooms. They work side-by-side with classroom teachers using curriculum and materials created by the Orchestra’s education department. Students also attend an Orchestra School Concert as well as other concerts throughout the year. Orchestra musicians visit each school annually.

“The music programs at my school gives us a lot of opportunities,” said third-grader Phoenix Berta. “We learn how about different instruments and how to play them. Right now, I know how to play the recorder and the guitar. It’s a lot of fun learning about different music and the instruments. I really like going to this school and learning something different each day.”