Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts: Wikis


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Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts
High School For The Creative & Performing Arts.jpg
Type Public secondary
Principal Johnny C. Whaley Jr.
Grades 9–12
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Mascot Pegasus
Newspaper The Painted Word [1]

The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts is a magnet school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Students major in one of six areas: Creative Writing, Instrumental Music, Visual Arts, Theater, Dance, and Vocal Music. The school, commonly referred to as CAPA, is currently located on South Broad Street, in the old Ridgeway Library.



CAPA was started as an integration school. The program was first used above another school, which had a history of violence. However, CAPA managed to separate itself from this school and develop its focus on the arts, despite all the obstacles it encountered.

Eventually CAPA proved its worth as a school and in 1997 moved into a new location at Broad and Christian St, the restored Ridgway Library building. They received a huge budget ($80,000) to help create CAPA's above average tools needed to succeed in the arts (film studios, dance studios, lights for professional theatre and backup generator for them).

From 1993–present CAPA has held and taught many students, and has become a permanent part of the Avenue of the Arts.


  • Johnny C. Whaley Jr., CAPA Principal was assistant principal at CAPA for many years and was promoted to the office of principal in August, 2001.
  • Michael J. Grosso, CAPA Assistant Principal Before becoming Assistant Principal, he was the Dean of Students.

Notable alumni

  • Boyz II Men have recorded five #1 hits and three of them broke the record for the longest time a single remained at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Boyz II Men is considered to be one of the most successful R&B male vocal groups of all time.
  • Angela Nissel, author and television writer. Nissel is best known for her first book, The Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke and her work as writer and co-producer on the television show Scrubs.
  • Anye Elite, openly gay singer-songwriter and community activist
  • Joey DeFrancesco, an organist who has played with the deceased Miles Davis in 1988, Joey DeFrancesco has recorded several albums, a couple of which are: "Live at the Hot Spot" and "Incredible." He is known as one of the major contributors to the rise of jazz in the 1980s.
  • Christian McBride is thought to be one of the best bassists of his generation. He has performed and recorded with artists such as James Brown, Sting, Carly Simon, and many more. McBride is also the co-director of the Jazz Museum in Harlem.
  • Dan Trautz, Art Major, Creator of "Denver and me" Sunday Paper comic strip.
  • Kurt Rosenwinkel, Guitar player who has worked with the best of young jazz players and has released a few original albums.
  • Karen Malina White, Famous actress well known for her role Dejonay on the Proud Family. She has also appeared in movies such as Lean on Me as Kaneesha Carter. She guest starred on Living Single as Maxine's openly gay friend.
  • Tony Luke Jr, a.k.a, Anthony Lucidonio Jr. who graduated CAPA in 1980 is an American actor, screenwriter, songwriter, restaurateur, and entrepreneur who has appeared on such food shows as Throwdown with bobby flay, Dinner Impossible and Man vs Food various TV shows and Movies. who wrote, Produced and starred in The Nail The Story Of Joey Nardone
  • Robert X. Golphin graduated CAPA in 1999 as a Creative Writing Major. He is an award-nominated actor and award-winning filmmaker/screenwriter, best known for his role as "Dunbar Reed" in the 2007 film The Great Debaters.

Basic Academic Courses

  • 9th Grade
    • English I
    • Physical Science
    • Algebra I/Algebra II
    • World History/Foreign Language
    • Health & Physical Education
  • 10th Grade
    • English 2
    • Biology
    • Geometry
    • Foreign Language
    • Health & Physical Education
  • 11th Grade
    • English 3/AP Language and Composition
    • American History/World History
    • Algebra 2/Pre-Calculus
    • Chemistry
    • Foreign Language
    • Health & Physical Education
  • 12th Grade
    • English 4/AP Literature and Composition
    • Social Science
    • Elementary Functions/Calculus
    • Living Environment/Physics/AP Biology/Biology 2
  • Elective
    • African American History (all years)[1]

Creative Writing

Creative Writing (CW) is responsible for various school publications and events such as the United Writers and Artists literary magazine, the Painted Word newspaper, and the written scripts of some school productions. Many writers are also a part of the yearbook staff.

Every year, under faculty supervision, the creative writing majors get together to put on their own show, traditionally known as the Writers' Cafe, an expose where many creative writing students perform original pieces they have authored, ranging from simple poetry reading to dramatic performance art.


Course Syllabus

  • Desktop Publishing
    • The basics of computers and word processing along with scanning and computer art techniques are taught. Students learn to write and publish their own magazine.
  • Screenwriting
    • Students write movie scripts based on original ideas and concepts and learn the basics of writing for the "Big Screen."
  • Poetry I+II
    • This course uses personal reflections in developing individual poetic style.
  • Critique
    • Pupils learn how to analyze both works of literature and film.
  • Fiction I+II
    • Writers gain experience in fiction through reading and writing short stories in Fiction I and II.
  • Nonfiction I+II
    • These courses explore the creative aspects of essay writing. Freshmen writers take Nonfiction I and senior writers take Nonfiction II.
  • Journalism I and Media Studies
    • In Journalism I students write editorials, news and feature articles and even write their own newspapers. In Media Studies students explore the communications and broadcast media.
  • Memoir
    • Students are tasked with writing chapter by chapter accounts of their lives, as well as reading memoirs by published authors, in order to gain a deeper understanding of themselves.
  • Playwriting
    • Students learn to write original scripts for plays.[2]


The CAPA Dance Department instructs their students in different levels of Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Hip- Hop, and even Irish Step Dancing, also known as "River Funk" Dance majors perform annually in the Thanksgiving Day Parade [3]


The CAPA Instrumental Department encompasses a wide variety of performances and ensembles, including Concert Band, Orchestra, String ensembles, Jazz ensemble and a number of smaller groups. Students participate in these ensembles on a daily basis and are also instructed in such topics as music theory, composition and improvisation. CAPA students are integral members of the All-Philadelphia High School music ensembles and have participated in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association ensemble program at the District, Regional and All-State levels.

Graduates of the CAPA instrumental program have attended some of America's finest Colleges, Universities and Conservatories, including the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music.

The instrumentalists have taken trips to play all over the Tri-State area from Harrisburg to Atlantic City. The CAPA Concert band has also recorded their own CD entitled "Superlative."


  • Orchestra
    • Led by Ms. Nanette Foley, this full symphony orchestra's repertoire includes a vast library of classical music along with arrangements of more modern pieces. A smaller iteration of the same orchestra plays the music for the school musical each year.
  • Concert Band
    • Led by Mr. Brian Ewing, this large concert band also focuses on classical repertoire arranged for concert band.
  • Jazz Band
    • The CAPA Jazz Band, a "Big Band", is also led by Mr. Ewing and plays music from many eras of jazz history. Members of the Jazz Band often play in the Small Jazz Band..
  • String Ensemble
    • Led by Ms. Foley, the string ensemble is a large group of string instruments which normally plays classical music.
  • String Quartet
    • String Quartet is reserved for more advanced string players. Those rostered into this class are split up into two quartets, both of which learn chamber pieces. The string quartet often plays professionally. The quartets are instructed by Ms. Foley.
  • Woodwind Ensemble
    • The woodwind ensemble is a large group of woodwind instruments which focuses on classical repertoire. This ensemble is led by Mr. Ewing.[4]


The Theatre department is run by Elsa Bass, Scott Kuafman and Marliene Goebig. The Theater Deaparment puts on average seven perfoamnces a year. Plus three more by the MyVision Theater Esemble which is a selective theater group.

Course syllabus

  • Movement
    • Students learn the basics of the human body thorugh Alexander Teqniuqe, Yoga, Ballet, Modern Dance, Other Dance styles, Theater Games and exsersize.
  • Children's Theatre
    • This course teaches how to do acting for theatre for children, and the students even do the 'CAPA Caravan' - a traveling show that visits the elementary schools of Philadelphia.
  • Film and TV
    • Film and TV is a course that teaches how to create and act for the media.[5]
  • Principals of Theater I+II
    • Students learn the history of theater from the moment it was created out of religious ceremonies to present day. Students also learn methods of acting from Stainslaski, Chekov, Spolin and other masters. Students learn basics on playwritng, with special emphasis on monologue writing. They learn about set, lighting, design, directing, critique, publicity, costume, and much more. They study other forms of art to enhance their knowledge of their own. And they read plays varying form classics like Oedipus, Death of A Salesman, Glass Managerie to more modern ones such as How I learned to Drive.

Visual Arts

CAPA's Visual Arts department covers a variety of disciplines, including: drawingandpainting taught by Mr. John Fantine, graphic design taught by Mrs. Jacquelyne Gilmore Stallworth, commercial arts taught by Mr. Steven Nau and ceramics and 3- dimensional sculpture taught by Ms. Maria Lengauer.

Freshmen and sophomores focus on drawing and quick sketching. Also, students study the human body and perspective. The Freshman students are introduced to plaster relief and 3-D clay design, learn the skill of woodcutting and basic graphic design.

The juniors and seniors learn advanced graphic design, commercial art, continue painting, advanced 3-D sculpture and work on college portfolios.

Throughout all four years at CAPA, art major students are required to enter a variety of contests, and complete various projects.[6]


CAPA's Vocal Music Department, originally conducted by Mr. David King until his retirement in 1997, is currently conducted by Mr. Timothy Cormier and Ms. Dorina Morrow. Vocal Music includes choral singing in large and small ensembles, individual voice training and development, solfeggio, harmony, music theory, and composition.

There are two choirs: Concert Choir and Mixed Choir. The Concert Choir is made up of juniors, seniors, and some very exceptional Sophomores. The Mixed Choir is made up of only Freshman and Sophomore students. All vocal majors have to take at least one year of Solfeggio, a sight reading and ear training course. In addition, an Advanced Placement theory class is available for juniors and seniors to teach them how to master the art of harmony.

The CAPA choirs have achieved a position of excellence among choral groups in the Delaware Valley.

A few of the choir's important singing engagements:

  • Multiple appearances on daily news shows
  • Appearance in the CBS special "Dreams" for which the school received an Emmy


Besides academic and art courses, CAPA offers many extracurricular activities, organizations, and sports teams to the students.

Extracurricular Activities

  • United Writers and Artists(UWA)
    • CAPA's literary magazine is staffed by selected visual artists and writers, based on merit and talent, and is run like a professional magazine. These students are not responsible for the publication of the magazine, neither in print or online. Writing and art published in the magazine is mostly original work of CAPA students. The Internet department cannot maintain the school website.
  • The Painted Word
    • The school newspaper is written and maintained by a staff of diligent students, under the supervision of Journalism/English teacher, Karen Holdsworth.
  • The Encore - CAPA's yearbook
    • The organization responsible for the production of the senior yearbooks. Yearbook is sponsored by Mrs. Jacquelyne Gilmore Stallworth and business manager Mr. David Ballantine.

Councils and Committees

  • Student Council
    • CAPA's student council is composed of student representatives elected or selected by each advisory, so that all grade levels and majors are accounted for. Student Council operates as a venue through which student voices are heard. Also, this group organizes various activities
  • Class Committees
    • Class committees include the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior committees. These committees are responsible for the organization of class meetings, fundraisers, dances, etc.
  • Seasonal/Holiday Committees
    • When holidays and events arise at CAPA, students are encouraged to join these committees. They are the primary directors of the activity and work together to make it a success. For example, during Halloween, students rally together to create a committee whose primary responsibility is to create the CAPA Halloween "Spooktacular".

Clubs & Organizations

  • Bible Study
  • Down to Earth - Coordinator: Dr. Richard Moon
  • Gay Straight Alliance - Coordinators: Ms. Jennifer Kramny, Mr. Konstantopolous
  • National Honor Society Peer Tutoring - Coordinator: Ms. Cynthia Kulesza
  • Mock Trial - Coordinator: Ms. Barbara Young
  • TV/Film Club - Coordinator: Mr. Kaufman
  • Tech Team - Coordinator: Mr. Joey Ippolito
  • Darfur STAND
  • CAPA Step Team
  • Philadelphia Student Union

Sports Teams

  • Basketball - Coach: Mr. John Dunphy
  • Cross Country - Coach: Ms. Barbara Williams
  • Softball - Coach: Mr. John Hecker
  • Tennis - Coach: Mr. John Dunphy
  • Volleyball - Coach: Mr. Richard Shields

See also


External links

Coordinates: 39°56′22″N 75°09′57″W / 39.9395°N 75.1658°W / 39.9395; -75.1658


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