Cultural arts enhance summer learning at East Cleveland Academy

Summer learning and retention have been a red-hot focus for United Way of Greater Cleveland this season, with several academic locations engaging students in reading and math during traditional vacation months.

arts31In addition to its academic emphasis, East Cleveland City Schools offered a Cultural Arts Enrichment Academy at Caledonia Elementary School.

Funded by United Way and operated by the Rainey Institute – which was represented at the event by Lee Lazar, executive director, and Karen Carter, development associate – the summer program added a dozen cultural learning opportunities to the academics for its kindergarten to eighth grade scholars.

On July 22, more than 100 parents and guardians attended the East Cleveland Arts Enrichment Academy’s annual Culminating Program, to see the results of a summer’s hard work.

During the two-hour event, coordinated by Jeanne Lyons and Miriam Livingston, there were demonstrations of sports such as soccer, tennis, basketball and sparring, with students showing basic and complicated passing and ball handling skills.

arts2Some students filled the air with music, through bucket drumming, tap dancing, ballet,
hip-hop dancing and singing. Other scholars contributed original monologues; one group offered a reader theater version of “Gingerbread Man.”

Visual arts were also on display, through exhibits of photography, paintings and 2D and 3D art projects.

Principal Vanessa Moore closed the program, thanking the students, staff, East Cleveland Schools, the Rainey Institute and United Way.

“This summer offered amazing opportunities for our students,” she said. “We are grateful for all the support and help from everyone who made this possible.

Myrna Loy Corley, superintendent of schools for East Cleveland City Schools, said she was extremely proud and impressed by the high attendance rates and the hard work the students and staff displayed.

“These were actively engaged students who found new ways of self-expression,” she said. “It was a major opportunity to present this program this summer.”

To learn more about United Way’s year-’round education initiatives, visit

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