When you step across the threshold onto 38 Main Street, home of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts, the first thing you’ll see is a little sign that reads: “Nice Matters.” The sounds of chatter and laughter fill the halls. FSPA is so much more than an after school performing arts program, it’s a place where people of all ages come together in the classroom and form life-long friendships. Bullying is not tolerated, but it is not in any way a problem, as there are no “popular kids” or cliques. Everyone is friends with everyone. It’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone is like one big family here. After all, this is what FSPA has been working towards for more than 25 years, building a community around the arts.
Pop into the office and you’ll find a waiting list filled with students who want to staff a class for physically or mentally disabled children, so that everyone has the chance to perform.
Upon the wall are dozens of pictures of students from years past who will never be forgotten. Everywhere you turn an FSPA alumni will go out of their way to talk to you or take a trip back to the school. Another picture shows the night the whole school drove to Providence to watch a student who landed a national tour performance. There are no jealous or bitter faces, just genuinely happy smiles.
Down the hall in the drama studio, a girl (*cough* me) looks around at her best friends and thinks about how lucky she was to find this place. The new girl at the school who never felt isolated, not even for a moment. The staff and other kids brought her right into their community and it was almost as if she’d been there her whole life.