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Students at Newark Arts High School find inspiration among the halls

Class Act: Talent on full display among the halls at Newark Arts High School
Class Act: Talent on full display among the halls at Newark Arts High School 08:29

NEWARK, N.J. -- Arts High School of Newark has been around for nearly a century, and it's a school where dreams come true -- not for a few, but for many. 

As CBS New York's Chris Wragge found, they believe in themselves and they're great at what they do. The school helps set them on the right course.

"I actually started here as a drama major my ninth grade year. And then in my 10th grade year, I switched over to cinematography, because I had a vision. I wanted to be able to broaden my talents and not just be subject to just acting," senior cinematography major Malachai Gwen told Wragge. "Being a journalist and being a fashion influencer on Instagram and TikTok, I actually want to do these things. So taking the tools from the classroom and being able to put that forth into the content that I'm creating has been unbelievable. I've seen results, not only from my teacher, but in real time with my audience."

The students walking the halls at Newark Arts High School are highly motivated. Everywhere you look, you see high school students living out their dreams. 

Wragge ran into one student who directed, shot and edited his own movie.

"It's an original concept, I put my heart and soul into this. And it's actually a two-time festival winner," he said.

"It's such a space of positivity, and I love my major, I love what I do, and it's something that I want to go into when I get older," said junior drama major Kayla Davila. "My dad is a musician and so was his father and his father and his father. So it's just so lovely to continue on doing art."

"There's a lot of things to get inspiration from. I find a lot of inspiration from a lot of things that surround me. That's why I came here, because there's art everywhere. The music playing or the dancing and singing, and even the act, you find inspiration from that, just your surroundings, you can pick inspiration from that," freshman visual arts major Latifa Abubakar said. 

"You come in by the dance studio and you see dancers, you come in by the instrumental room and you see different types of instruments and different types of music every time -- jazz, Latin, soul, classical. It's just a beautiful place to be," another student added.

Arts High School of Newark is the place to be, and it offers everything. Its leader, Principal Devonne Denose, knows what she's doing.

"They are my why, they are why I do it. They are amazing. They're so talented. And so it is an honor to serve in this role --it's a servant, leadership role," said Denose. "Walking the halls, hearing, seeing, it is an amazing experience day in and day out. So while it is tough, it is something that brings so much joy to know that I'll have a piece of what is their long journey in this lifetime."

One of the great things about walking the halls of the school is you never know when you're going to be confronted by a full choir. So it's safe to say, the halls are alive with the sound of music. 

If you're wondering if they have sports, they actually have one of the top basketball programs in the state, led by drama, art and television production majors. 

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