Community High School of Arts and Academics is a secular independent high school located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, with a commitment to small, seminar-based classes and to providing excellent scholars and artists as faculty. Our campus is located in a renovated historic warehouse in downtown Roanoke, a city in a metropolitan area of approximately 250,000 that serves as one of the cultural capitals of Appalachia. Our building boasts original wide-plank flooring, exposed brick walls and heart pine timbers, along with a flexible 150-seat theater, band rehearsal facilities, a public art gallery, painting and film-editing studios, and a fully equipped science laboratory. Our students come from across the economic spectrum, and are diverse culturally, by aptitude and interest. Our student body is small, ranging around sixty students. Classes are small and intense by design.
Community High School classes are taught in a block schedule as is typical in colleges. A strong emphasis is placed on the arts, both in theory and in execution. Students choose between Film History, Film Production, Photography, Theater, Various Studio Art courses, Performance Band, Puppetry, Creative Writing and so on. Faculty are experienced scholars and working artists.
Programs of Interest:
- Lycée: Twice a year, students and outsiders take over the school for a day, offering classes of their own design and inviting area experts to teach on topics ranging from Paleontology to the practical use of public transportation, from pasta making to the history of Metal.
- Community High School has the first high school Quidditch team recognized by the U.S. Quidditch Association, and is the current holder of that association’s Xander Manshel award.
- Appalachian Culture: Although our location is in the heart of a small city, it also rests in the heart of one of America’s oldest rural cultural regions, the southern mountains of Appalachia. This area is famous for music; countless Americana, Bluegrass and Old Time players hail from the region, it hosts large and longstanding fiddler’s conventions and other music festivals, and is home to internationally famous traditional music record labels and luthiers. It is also home to the Creative Writing program at Hollins University, a longtime hotbed of Southern Literature.
- Humanities and Sciences: Since many of our Humanities and Science classes are relatively unique and topic-based, programs with guest faculty or students would be welcome. A student with an interest in Jewish culture or Middle East politics may benefit from joining an Israeli and Palestinian Literature course when that is offered, for example; a Biology teacher with a background in Comparative Anatomy might benefit from joining in Human Origins.
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