Grand Forks Public Schools' art program honored in Washington

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - And the award goes to Grand Forks Public Schools! The Grand Forks Public Schools’ Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA) was honored in Washington Thursday for their positive influence on their community. Their programs are considered the pinnacle of youth arts in the region.

Sydney Warcup says the Summer Performing Arts Company helped her, and many other kids, branch out.

For 30 years, SPA has inspired kids in the community. The only arts-based summer program in the region received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

“It really helps kids just branch out, and I think to get that recognition just kind of validates what we’re doing,” said Sydney Warcup, 17, who participated in the program for 12 years.

She says she was a quiet child, but playing a role in the theater productions helped her, and countless others, broaden their horizons.

“It gives you a lot of confidence to just go onstage and do what you love to do and not care what anybody thinks anymore,” said Warcup.

Warcup traveled to Washington with Dean Opp, the administrative director for SPA. He says it is humbling to receive recognition for a program that filled that void.

“It keeps me young. It keeps me excited about what I do. The students are there because they want to be there,” said Opp.

He says after 30 years, it is the perfect time to receive this recognition. Opp says this award can reinvigorate the program for the next 30.

“Hopefully this is that first step in some new things that we can’t even imagine right now,” said Opp.

Beyond recognition, the program will receive $10,000. Opp says he is not sure exactly what they will do with the money, but he thinks it is likely they will put it toward a scholarship fund for students in need.