Souls of Art Creates Inclusive Environment for Students

Taylor Meek, Staff Writer

You are in the crowd of another EHS assembly. Hip-hop music begins to blare from the speakers and you hear rhythmic stomping and clapping emulating the beat of the song that echoes from various corners of the gym. As the bass booms, the crowd’s energy exudes excitement.

Dance group Souls of Art (SOA) has been seen and definitely heard at assemblies and the talent show for the last four years, but you probably want to know why EHS has two dance groups.

SOA captain senior Elizabeth Schmitt has been a part of the team since her freshman year and feels as though SOA gives girls and boys of color a place where they can fit in.

“It’s given me a creative way to express myself,” Schmitt said. “I discovered that I loved dancing and I made new friends.”

Junior Black Student Union President Olivia Gray appreciates the bond SOA members have established over the years.

“It has brought a welcoming and fun environment,” Gray said.

The team brought students together by creating its own sense of community. In a school with a majority white student body it’s very common to find classrooms with only one or two non-white students, so it can be easy for people of color to feel out of place.

“Being a part of SOA feels like home because I can be myself without being uncomfortable,” junior Summer Jones said. “It has shown me that there’s a lot more people just like me and by joining, we found each other.”

Founder of SOA, 2018 EHS graduate Shania Rice, created the group to be all-inclusive, without the restraint of traditional teams and clubs.

“SOA is a club where everybody can feel free and show off their talent without having to be in a sport,” Rice said.

Jones feels as though Rice’s vision for the club has been achieved and has given the members, herself included, a sense of purpose.

“It feels good performing in the school,” Jones said. “It shows that we are a part of EHS.”