DANBURY - High School seniors MacKenzie Peck and Aaron Katz will attend a youth festival in Cape Verde this summer as part of a month-long celebration of the African nation's 30th year of independence.
The two were among 10 Connecticut high schoolers chosen after a rigorous selection process to go to Cape Verde, which established its independence from Portugal on July 5, 1975.
All the students are alumni of the
Center for Creative Youth
in Middletown, and are pursuing an education in the arts.
This summer marks the third year students have traveled from Cape Verde to attend the pre-college program at Wesleyan that offers talented high school students five weeks of intensive study in the arts.
It's the first time American students from the program are going to the island nation.
"I think it's really exciting. I've never been over that big ocean. It's mind-boggling,'' said Peck, who is 18. She plans to attend the
Maryland Institute College of Art
in the fall.
"We're going there at a really exciting time as they celebrate their independence. All the kids come back from college and do arts and other activities,'' Peck said. "We're going for $500. It's an amazing opportunity."
Both Katz and Peck attended the Center for Creative Youth last summer.
Among the students joining Peck and Katz are two from Hartford, two from Wethersfield, and one each from New Haven, Bridgeport and Bloomfield.
Each of the Connecticut students will be paired with a student from Cape Verde and stay in dormitories with youth from all over the world. They'll participate in workshops and events in a festival planned for the last week of July as part of the country's celebration.
The students were chosen from the center's high school alumni.
The relationship between the center and Cape Verde has grown in recent years through the efforts of
, a Cape Verde native, who attended the center and now teaches in its theater department.
A two-week arts program will be established in Cape Verde for the summer of 2005. The program will feature a strong language component in addition to the arts instruction.
The center is a program of the
Capitol Region Education Council
and sponsored by, and in collaboration with Wesleyan's Graduate Liberal Studies Program and Wesleyan's
Center for the Arts
It emphasizes multi-cultural and interdisciplinary learning, critical thinking and leadership. Each class is designed to enhance students' problem-solving skills in music, theater, musical theater, technical theater, creative writing, dance, film making and visual arts, which includes photography.
Contact Eileen FitzGerald
or (203) 731-3333.