Carver kids look back
By Katie Killon
“I still remember the day I got my acceptance letter,” 21-year-old Lauren Kashan said. “I was skipping around my front lawn, I was like ‘I got a notice saying I was going to heaven instead of hell.”
Kashan had been accepted to George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, a magnet high school in Towson. She had initially auditioned to be in Carver’s writing program, but two weeks in she switched to voice.
Carver, unlike most high schools required students to audition for their major. In addition to the standard Math, Science, and English classes that most other public schools require, Carver students auditioned for a focus—which was called their “prime.”
Heather Malinowski, 21, remembered auditioning for culinary arts. She had to perform knife cuts and make biscuits from scratch.
Former classmate and fellow culinary arts major, Dan Yochelson, said of his enrollment, “My parents were leery at first but I convinced them the school had good academics and culinary would be a good life skill.”
Justin Fair, a former Theatre Design and Production student described Carver as a school that allowed students to grow and nourish. “We were treated as mature individuals and held to higher expectations than the impressions I’ve had from students from other schools.”
Antoinette Michele Hawkins, a painting major said that Carver offered her amazing opportunities, but the workload wasn’t easy.
“It was the first time I felt as though I had no spare time, a lot of my friends who went to ‘normal’ schools could go to the mall on the weekends. I couldn’t because I had a painting and a photo assignment due that week.”
Although most of the students described the workload as intensive, they all had positive things to say about the overall environment at Carver.
“I didn’t have to deal with iconic imagery like bullying, cliques, silent populations, and horrible teachers. I was so thankful to go to a school where even the faculty was tested often, that my experience felt so much more intense on study and on enjoyment,” Fair said.
Lauren Kashan had decided to go to Carver because of her passion for the arts— along with the fact that she didn’t want to go to her zoned school “because it would be the same cruel, evil girls from middle school.”
Instead, Kashan built lasting bonds with her voice classmates.
“It was so incredible because we were all so very different. We had the workaholic girl who wanted to be president, the straight laced conservative people, people who were really preppy, and then the punks like me,” she said. “And you get to watch peoples talents evolve over the years and watch them grow up.”
Where are they now
The students at Carver have taken varied paths, some far from what they had majored in back at Carver.
Formerly a culinary arts major, Dan Yochelson is now a United States marine.
“Honestly, I’m not doing much with what I learned in Carver, except what I learned about accepting people’s differences.”
Antoinette Michele Hawkins, a painting major is now a junior at MICA. “I am still a painter… a developing painter at that, she said. “Carver has prepped me for everything that MICA had to throw at me. Carver taught me discipline and putting my all into whatever I do.”
Hawkins is now enrolled in MICA’s 5 year duel degree program for Masters in Teaching.
Heather Malinowski, former Culinary Arts student and photography minor said that her experience at Carver helped her learn her strengths and weaknesses as well as helped her explore the things she loves to do. She still lists photography as one of her passions. She is now a senior History major at Towson University.
Lauren Kashan, who studied voice at Carver is now a Zoology major at Towson. But she said that she still loves to perform and that Carver gave her “a deep and lifelong appreciation for music and theater.”
Kashan is now in a band called At the Zoo, who play in the Baltimore area, she described the sound as progressive psych acid jazz with ska roots.
“Having that background in music theory and vocal technique has enabled me to really experiment with the things I can do as a vocalist,” she said.
Justin Fair, who studied Theatre Design and Production is now a senior at the University of Maryland- College Park. He is interning with Hyattsville CDC and he is planning on going to grad school for Urban planning.
Fair has performed as an actor and singer on and off campus and has had his artwork featured in nearby galleries.
“Carver’s focus on the arts and on management enforced and encouraged not only my own portfoilio but also allowed me to understand my reach as an artist in my community,” Fair said.
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