For as long as her family could remember, 19-year-old Heaven Sherman has wanted to perform – as an actress, or maybe as a singer.
In mid-December, just before the Christmas break, Heaven joined dozens of other high school students in a closing-night performance celebrating the completion of Studio 345’s first trimester.
Inspired by the nonprofit Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh, Studio 345 was launched by the Arts & Science Council in the fall of 2012. It uses digital photography and multimedia arts to educate and inspire students to stay in school, graduate, and pursue goals beyond high school. The program is open to all high school students in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
Heaven, a senior at Hawthorne High School, enrolled in the 10-week multimedia class, where she recorded her own songs in a custom-built studio and worked with others in her class to produce music videos. But as she prepared to take the stage for a solo performance on closing night, family members who had come to cheer her on were unsure exactly what to expect.
In Studio 345, Heaven earned praise from her teaching artists, both for her vocal talent as well as for her determination. Just hours before her performance, she was still busy in the studio, working with one of the teaching artists to make last-minute adjustments to her recording.
Heaven said she enrolled in Studio 345 with high expectations – and she said she wasn’t disappointed.
“I actually received more than I thought I was going to receive, she said. “I learned more than I thought I was gong to learn. We experienced new things that I didn’t think we were going to experience.”
When asked what she liked most, Heaven was quick to respond: “The highlight out of everything to me is just being around people who care…people who recognize me for the talent I have…just being in a caring environment.”
“I’m so proud of her,” said her grandmother, Marian Sherman. “She loves acting and signing, and she loves writing songs. I think she will go further because of this program.”
Heaven said her goal is to pursue a career in music.
“I know I have a talent,” she said. “In fact, I know that I have a gift, actually.”
Heaven’s mother said she supports her daughter’s musical aspirations.
“I believe all children should go after their dreams if that’s what they want,” she said. “Shoot for the stars; you might land somewhere.”
To learn more about Studio 345, click here.