STAC is a gifted and talented alternative arts program that is unique to Herricks High School: there is literally no other program like it in the world. Students apply and must be accepted into STAC based on portfolio, writing samples and a personal interview. STAC is worth 2 elective credits and 1/2 art credit.
The class meets 5 days a week for the last three periods of the day - from 12:40 to 2:50pm. Students are in STAC about 15 hours a week - that is 15 hours a week spent working on creative projects: filmmaking, acting, painting and drawing, photography, seeing movies, writing, building websites and on and on. It is a huge amount of time that STAC students get to spend getting better at doing things they already love to do.
The philosophy of STAC is to graduate students who are:
100% of the students who graduate STAC go to college.
Students in STAC are often involved in music classes at Herricks, so STAC is scheduled such that student in the program can participate in STAC and still sing in the choirs, and play in the orchestras or bands.
There isn't a typical day in STAC because we cover so much ground and do so many different things. Usually, the STACies eat lunch for the first 20 minutes or so (students in STAC have very packed schedules and do not have a free period for lunch). Lunch is also a time for everyone to check-in and transition from a traditional high school structured learning experience to whatever might be happening in STAC.
What might be happening in STAC?
You can graduate STAC with a bunch of superior finished work documented on a website you made yourself. Colleges love that.
STAC is diverse and accepting. Students in STAC range from age 14 to 18 with the older students serving as mentors to the younger. As students in class typically self-identify as artists, personalities in STAC range from the quiet to the flamboyant, from introvert to extrovert, but everyone accords each other respect and friendship, and students new to the program quickly discover they are valued. The social bonds within STAC are very strong and unlike any other class in high school. STAC Alumni visit on holidays and friendships made in STAC last forever.
In STAC you're safe to find out who you really are, and what you can really do.
Student in STAC have an advantage when they get to college. They've spent a lot of time, in some cases four years, developing critical thinking and problem solving skills. STAC Alumni regularly report back that "college wasn't a challenge until the middle of my sophomore year," and that "I know how to do things that none of my classmates know about." As incoming freshman in arts and liberal arts programs, STAC students "have seen most of the movies featured in my film studies class," and "ended up showing the rest of the group how to edit because no one knew how to use the software but me." In terms of getting into college, STAC is an absolutely unique item on a transcript which sets a STAC student apart from the competition.
While the rest of the class was freaking out about the project, I had already done things like it in STAC
STAC was founded in 1979, and to take advantage of video grants offered at that time, the program was called The Student Television Arts Company. In the years following STAC has expanded its scope. These days, perhaps STAC best means Students, Teachers, Arts, Community.
On some days it means Students Talking Almost Ceaselessly.