Gala fundraiser this weekend for Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

Gala fundraiser this weekend for Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

 You may recognize them from shows such as Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Sleepy Hollow or Orange is the New Black. Or you've seen them in films such as 42, the Hunger Games or 12 Years a Slave.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - They are South Carolina natives and graduates of the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.

"Our alums have been successful over the last 14 years," said Chair of the GSAH Foundation and former South Carolina First Lady Rachel Hodges. "If you watch Boardwalk Empire, Sleepy Hollow, Mad Men, orange is the New Black, then you've seen our alums, from right here in South Carolina in leading, prominent roles in those TV programs."

The school in Greenville is open to all South Carolina high school juniors and seniors with a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must audition or submit an approved portfolio. It is the only public residential school in South Carolina. In addition to regular academics, courses are taught in creative writing, dance, music, drama, visual arts and a soon-added animation program.

"All of that is so refreshing when you hear all of these accomplishments of these kids and where they come from," Hodges said. "They come from all over the state."

Although students must pay $3,000 for food, everything else is free. The foundation makes sure students have what they need to succeed, including helping pay expenses for students to travel for auditions.

"We fund art supplies for the visual arts department," Hodges said. "We fund toe shoes for the dance area. It's a whole range of things."

The school was recently ranked in the top 1% if public schools nationally by Newsweek.

"The school is dedicated to arts and humanities, but it's also dedicated to academic success," said Hodges. "South Carolina has a public high school that is achieving things of this magnitude. We are really on the cusp of doing something extraordinary."

Hodges is organizing a fundraising gala this Sunday for the Governor's School Foundation. Sunday With Our Stars is November 2 from 3-5 p.m. at Wavering Place Plantation, 427 Adams Hayne Road, Eastover. Click here for tickets and information.

"Come and learn more about the Governor's School and see how they can support and encourage these kids who are--they're just stars," said Hodges. "They're making us shine everywhere they go."

For more information about the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, click here.

Some notable graduates:

  • Tony Award-winner Patina Miller, cast in the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay film;
  • Danielle Brooks, who plays Tasty on the Netflix hit show “Orange is the New Black;”
  • Nicole Beharie, star of Fox TV show “Sleepy Hollow;” and
  • Wrenn Schmidt of HBO's “Boardwalk Empire;” as well as
  • Writer Victoria Ford, who made Oprah's WOW List;
  • Caleb Jones, the lead musician on the Civilization V video game;
  • Sara Mearns, principal dancer at the NYC Ballet


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