LFAS – A Mother and Son Perspective

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LFAS student, Dustin Hurrell, and his mother, Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell, collaborated on this unique Blue Dog contribution. Dustin, who is graduating this year, wrote an essay about his experiences at the school since he arrived in grade 10. Ingrid, a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, created a spectacular photo essay that reflects her feelings about the school.

The Chemical Reaction of Fine Arts
by Dustin Hurrell

Thirty-three months ago my life started. Now, being a healthy nineteen year old male, it may seem strange to say that my life began only two years and change ago, at the age of sixteen. However, I don’t mean this in a physical sense, obviously, I mean it in a metaphorical way.

The date was September 8th, 2009 at the beginning of grade ten. LFAS was my fifth school in as little as four years in my new home country of Canada. This was not a big deal, though. Having lived in both America and South Africa for a number of years previously, I was used to new schools. Fine Arts was just to be another name to be added to the list.

I knew the drill: enter a new school, don’t make a big name for yourself, wait until friendships form naturally, DO NOT force them! So the plan was to lay low for one-two months while people formed subconscious opinions about me, spend lunch with the one person I did know and wait…

Langley Fine Arts had different plans though. Within the first week I had people welcoming me to the school and within the month, I had friends. Now that I am in my third year at LFAS, I have one of the best groups of friends I could ask for and the school has changed my life.

As you spend time within in the walls of the building, you start to realize that there is no other school like it. It’s a school where it is commonplace to see a student by their locker who greets each person who walks by with a “good morning,” whether they are acquaintances or not. It’s a community that accepts you for the person you are and does not judge you on how strange you can be.

I was in a conversation with a friend when another friend ran up to us and said, “The fellowship is assembled – we ride to Brohan!”  The three of us proceeded to travel around the school as if we were riding horses.

Even a simple trip down the hallway can bring unique experiences, such as seeing an entire dance class running past you with hula hoops and exercise balls.

And there is something about a school that has a grade twelve chemistry classroom across the hall from a grade three class. A school where you walk down the hall and pass an entire class of grade ones in a single file line. A school where your teacher walks in with mini Smartie boxes attached to his leg, stating he is a “smartie pants.” I have never attended a school where you are so encouraged to be yourself, where strange weirdness is readily accepted.

Now, even though I am far more academically inclined than I am artistic and creative, the school has given so much to me. Having had the opportunities to both get up on stage in drama and write in creative writing, I have been given a good perspective of life.

Instead of school just catering solely to my enjoyment of math and science, it opened my eyes to the world of theatre performance and expressive writing, the importance of doing what you love and creating something that you want to share with others, the enjoyment and adrenaline rush you receive from performance arts when the audience applauds, the stress and pressure of all day rehearsals the week before opening night, the nervous pit in your stomach right before the show and the emptiness felt after the final performance.

They may all sound terrible, but they are unexplainably wonderful, because you know you put your heart and soul into this creation that you are about to share with the world. Even though I don’t plan to choose acting or writing as my vocation, I will keep the memories of my arts with me and both will quite possibly continue as important parts of my life.

The most special thing about the school, though, is the people. Teachers and students alike. You have crazy teachers who are addicted to diet coke or are Icelandic and went puffin hunting as a child. A music teacher who has worked with choirs across the world. All these unique and amazing teachers (and so many more) work at Langley Fine Arts, a small school in the sleepy town of Fort Langley.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have the students. I don’t know whether it is the environment of the school, the teachers, or just the students themselves, or maybe a combination of all three, but I have seen nothing like it. If you are true to yourself and the person you are, it is possible to fit in almost everywhere.

I found a group of friends as crazy as I am and it is quite the feeling to be accepted for who you are and not the person they see you could be or want you to be. No matter how weird any of us get (I get really excited when I talk about ducks, you can ask any of my friends), there is never any judgement or condemnation. It is just the normal quirks we accept and enjoy of one another.

Fine Arts is a one of a kind school that is somewhat crazy, but easy to fall in love with. I would be hard pressed to think of a place that is more accepting or open. The school teaches you to be open and express your feelings and shows you that creativity can be found in any place (YES! Even science and math).

Langley Fine Arts has had an integral part of shaping the person I am and will be in the future. And it has been the start of my life.

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One Comment on “LFAS – A Mother and Son Perspective”

  1. E Botha Says:

    Wow!! What a privilege to go there. I would love to teach there!,,,,


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