Photo by Jessica Horne
The air was filled with loud music, laughter and shouting as students from various Robeson County public schools came to campus to enjoy Very Special Arts Day, or VSA day, on Friday, Oct. 20.
“VSA is an international celebration of the arts in the lives of people with disabilities,” Nicolette Campos, director of the Accessibility Resource Center, said.
The event featured interactive programs and activities for students at every corner of the University Quad.
Students lined up to make crafts, and disseminated to dance by the water feature.
Some gathered to watch a clown juggle bowling pins, while others chased giant bubbles in front of the Bell Tower.
Additionally, an assortment of drums and other instruments were provided for students to play by Moore Hall.
“These are Orff instruments, typically used in elementary music class and we’re just letting the kids play…,” Allison Sontag, a senior music education major, said about the xylophone-lined table to her left.
As children threw frisbees and began to gather in shaded areas, teachers joined them.
“I know the last ten years I’ve been here [at VSA day], my favorite thing is just watching them enjoy themselves and [watching them] dancing to the music,” Lumberton High School teacher Brenda McDaniel said.
“I like this music, I just like the music,” a student said about his experience at VSA day.
Through the hard work and participation of many, VSA day continues to thrive.
“The first UNCP VSA Festival was held in 2002 and participation has increased each year so that now we have almost 2,000 students, teachers, faculty, staff and administrators participating,” Campos said.
Among the many volunteers were UNCP alumnae and fellow art teachers, Ashley Berdeau, teacher at St. Pauls High School, and Barbie Coble, teacher at Lumberton High School.
The women manned a craft’s table where students made fingerprint art keychains.
Coble is a member of the first group that graduated with a master’s in art from the university.
Berdeau is set to graduate in May 2018, with a graduate degree in the arts.
VSA Day “was founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and to increase access to the arts for all,” Campos said. “It’s a fantastic event for everyone who is involved and it is an avenue for students with disabilities within the PSRC to experience college students, faculty and staff.”