We are pleased to announce Rianna, a senior at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, in Hartford, Connecticut, as the TSC Student Contest Winner for the high school bracket! In the post below and the accompanying video, Rianna shares the difference that an expanded schedule has made for her. Congratulations Rianna!

When I consider my growth as a person over the past few years, I give most of the credit to the education that I have received and the leap that I made in my sophomore year when I was accepted into the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. It was not an easy obstacle but I believe this leap altered the way I manage my time and increased my involvement at school.

A day in the life of my expanded school day includes academic courses from 7:30am-12:45pm and arts classes from 1:00pm-4:15pm. The best part about having this schedule is that it serves each part just the right amount of attention. I am never overwhelmed and everyday brings something new to the table. During my academics, I am given the opportunity to take AP and honors courses. When it comes time for arts classes, I am involved in a variety of art forms and I am able to interact with other students with the same passion for the arts. I learned and internalized a higher level of responsibility and time management skills through the need to study, do homework, complete assigned chores and take care of my younger sister all in the short time frame given to me after a long school day. Although it may seem impossible to some students, extended hours gave me the opportunity to learn the necessary academic courses to graduate as well as pursue my passion for the arts. Being a theater major at the academy, the arts program has also enhanced my confidence and has improved my diction when speaking to others. I have taken enormous risks and they have proved to be beneficial. I am now theater representative of the whole theater department, president of the National Honors Society, and creative coordinator of the Latin Dance club.

Now, as I prepare for my transition into college, I’ve realized that if it had not been for my expanded school day, I would not have gained the skills that I did. Deciding to enroll into the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts was the best educational decision I could have made.