Local School Develops Ties to Young Harris

The Learning Center! Charter school has developed a relationship over the past few years with Young Harris College on an artistic and academic level that has proven beneficial for its students.

Recently, kindergarten through fifth grade students at The Learning Center! visited Young Harris College in North Georgia to see a play presented by the college’s theater department. The play was Cinderella’s Mice, a musical about Spencer and Mitzi, the 2 mice that help Cinderella get to the ball. The visit was led by The Learning Center drama director, Ryan Bender, who graduated from Young Harris in 2011 with a BA in Musical Theatre. Through Bender’s connection to the college, other opportunities soon followed. In 2012, Young Harris students assisted in The Learning Center’s annual “Monster Mash Maze” Halloween event. And in 2013, Tyler Ogburn, costume designer for the Young Harris theater department, was enlisted to design and construct the costumes for The Learning Center’s annual spring play.

Further connections to the college were forged when The Learning Center’s foundation to support arts and academics – The Jackie Ward Foundation – signed on as a sponsor for the 2016 Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival at Young Harris College. Last year, this successful event attracted visitors from surrounding states and featured eleven talented storytellers, six of whom are well-known on the national storytelling circuit, and five of whom are well-known in our region. The event also featured local talents, The Pressley Girls. This twin sister singing duo just happen to be former Learning Center students. Katie and Corie Pressley currently attend Young Harris College.

The association with the college does not stop at the arts. Learning Center director, Mary Jo Dyre commented, “We value our ties with Young Harris College. We are honored to have college representative, Dr. Linda Jones, Dean of the Math and Science Division and Dr. Paul Arnold, Chairman of the Biology Department, who serve on our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Leadership Team.” Dyre added, “To have access to this level of educators as we work to build a strong STEM program at The Learning Center is invaluable. Young Harris College is a rich resource for our region.”

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