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The Fine & Performing Arts Magnet Program Turns 40

The house lights darken and a hush falls over the Gosewisch Auditorium at Howell High School. Soon the stage lights illuminate and the Fine & Performing Arts Magnet Program's (FPAC) Annual Showcase begins. 

The Annual Showcase is an event for students in the various program tracts to display the year's hard work to the community. This year's showcase was extra special - celebrating the 40th anniversary of the program. To mark the occasion, alumni from throughout the years and staff who founded the program in 1984 were on hand to recognize the amazing accomplishments and growth seen over the past 40 years. Actor Tom Pelphrey (Class of 2000) was inducted into the Howell High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. Mr. Pelphrey noted that after all the years away from Howell High School, it still felt like home to be back on the stage. Actor Kal Penn (Class of 1995) joined Mr. Pelphrey in announcing that the school's acting award will now be named after retired FPAC teacher Stephen Kazakoff. 

FPAC provides conservatory-type training to young artists who want to combine a college preparatory schedule with advanced arts training in a traditional high school setting. It is comprised of three separate programs:  Acting; Dance; and Music, Video, & Production.  Each is a distinct program with unique courses.

“The FPAC program is really not about honing talent or perfecting skills, although those are ancillary benefits, it is really about giving students a safe space to be creative, and to find themselves. I hope we continue the important work of enabling students to find themselves for 40 more years," Craig Chern, Assistant Principal and Program Supervisor, said.

Graduates have gone on to traditional liberal arts colleges and prestigious institutions for the performing arts such as NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Juilliard, University of Southern California, University of the Arts, Mason-Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, Berklee College, University of Miami, and many more. Alumnae have starred in or work behind-the-scenes on feature films, national television shows (The Daily Show, Designated Survivor, The Rachael Ray Show), and national and world tours of musicals (Miss Saigon). They have won Peabody and Emmy awards for video editing, received Emmy Awards for acting, published books, produced independent films, and edited and written for national magazines and newspapers. FPAC alumnae have also become successful in fields beyond the arts, including medicine, physical and speech therapy, education, entertainment law and management, and architecture.

“It’s been 40 years of nurturing creativity, shaping dreams, and inspiring brilliance through the power of fine and performing arts. This program has guided past students to successful careers in theater, television, film, music, and more. I cannot wait to see the talent the graduates from FPAC over the next 40 years,” Principal Jeremy Braverman said.