Performing at their Best

Participation in the arts at Worcester Preparatory School leads to success in the classroom and in life

LOWER SCHOOL MUSIC TEACHER JOANIE BRITTINGHAM, right, shares her love of music with students at a young age, which sets the foundation of their extensive Arts Program experiences during their years atWorcester Prep.

At Worcester Preparatory School (WPS), it’s worth taking the stage with a rich arts program woven through the curriculum.

Research shows that arts education leads to higher test scores, improved problem-solving skills and enhanced creativity — all skills essential to future success. Visual and performing arts encourage self-expression, and the rehearsals and practice required in the performing arts build teamwork, self-discipline and a strong work ethic.

At WPS, the number of arts programs offered to students is diverse for a school of its size. Lower School students enjoy music and visual arts activities multiple times a week. Middle and UpperSchool students have opportunities to perform in the band or chorus, and choose from arts electives that include dance, drama, drawing, painting, sculpting, ceramics, printmaking, photography and digital media. With such a wide array of choices, students are able to discover, explore and be challenged by the arts.

According to the WPS director of Middle and Upper School Choral and Instrumental Music, Christopher Buzby, an arts education teaches students how to respectfully challenge assumptions and open their minds to new ideas

“Participation in the arts builds problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, focus, discipline and encourages students to get out of their comfort zones while welcoming new challenges,” Buzby said. “I’ve seen students use the skills they’ve developed to succeed as professional artists but also as successful engineers, doctors, accountants and in every other profession you can imagine. Participation in the arts is a game-changer.

”From Buzby’s experience, the majority of the students who excel in the arts at WPS are also students who receive academic awards and commendations, perform community service, are leaders of their classes and leave a lasting impact and legacy on the WPS campus.

“This then translates into students who are confident, eager and willing to lead beyond WPS, whether in local jobs, community service work or when heading off to college,” he said. “The students who excel at the arts also tend to be dedicated, empathetic and welcoming young people — showcasing how their growing confidence, choice and finding their voice is actively happening while students at WPS. That’s a win-win for everyone.

AS A FRESHMAN, CAYDEN WALLACE (far left) made his grand debut in the WPS Upper School theatre program when he played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

About 15% of WPS graduates are pursuing visual- and performing-arts majors and minors as part of their undergraduate education. Senior Cayden Wallace aims to fall into that percentage, as he not only found his voice performing lead roles in WPS theatrical performances but also by participating in the Upper School chorus and vocal ensemble.

Having joined Theatre at WPS in 6th grade, Cayden went from being a nervous student who once thought about dropping out of his first show to playing the lead role of Shrek in last year’s Upper School performance of Shrek the Musical. It was through the arts that Cayden found his self-confidence. Now, he also performs with the Ocean Pines Children’s Theatre and Community Players of Salisbury.

“Moving forward, I hope to continue to study theater,” Cayden said. “Worcester’sArt Department, though small, can get the job done. I relate well to those in the program, and overall, we do what it takes to bring the show together.

”Most recently, Cayden auditioned and was accepted into Catholic University’s competitive Musical Theatre program.

LAST YEAR’S UPPER SCHOOL performance of Shrek the Musical left the audience in awe.

In catching up with WPS graduate Quinn McColgan (class of’20), a junior at Sarah Lawrence who is currently studying abroad at Oxford University, she credits the WPS Arts Department for assisting her in developing her career.

“With the support of the Worcester Prep’s Art and Music departments, I’ve been able to participate in school performances while pursuing a professional acting career. My teachers understood that I may miss some rehearsals but always had faith that I could do both. It’s exciting to be part of a community that pushes your limits while giving you the support needed to reach collective and personal goals,” she said.


WPS DIRECTOR of Middle & Upper School Choral and Instrumental Music Christopher Buzby (right).

WPS is currently accepting applications for the Sara Chase Carlson Scholarship, open to students entering 9th grade in September 2023. The need-based scholarship covers four years’ tuition for a new student entering grade 9 — a value of more than $67,000. Selection is based on strong academic ability, strength in the arts and/or technology and demonstrated financial need.

For more information about the Sara Chase Carlson Scholarship, contact the WPS Admissions Office at 410-641-3575, or email

Founded in 1970, WPS is a private, independent pre-kindergarten-through-grade-12 school located in Berlin. Approximately 500 students attend from Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. For more information about WPS, please visit, or call 410-641-3575. CS

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