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NEISD arts program attracts students from all over Bexar County, surrounding areas

Dialogue filled with passion took over the room at North East School of the Arts (NESA).

It’s a small look into an acting class at NESA where students hone in on their craft.

David Connelly teaches acting in the Musical Theater department and has been with NESA for 21 years.

He said students who attend NESA come to the school with optimism, dreams and passion for performing in musical theater.

“I would say in the Musical Theater program, maybe half of the students go on to pursue performance but the other half go on to take a more traditional path. What they take from here is their incredible ability to collaborate and carry with them these amazing interpersonal communication skills that I think are highly valuable in almost every field and are often times hard to find in job candidates,” Connelly said.

NESA is housed on the LEE High School campus and has seven majors in the arts including Musical Theater, Technical Theatre, Dance, Visual Arts, Cinema, Instrumental Music and Creative Writing.

The campus is not only for NEISD students so it attracts students who audition from all over Bexar County and the surrounding areas.

“We have kids who drive here every day from New Braunfels, from Boerne and from Poteet. I had a student who, she and her mother, moved here from El Paso while her dad stayed there as a doctor. Her dad stayed there and they got an apartment so she can go here for four years,” Connelly said.

16-year-old Ana Kusenberger is in the acting class and said musical theater has taught her all about teamwork.

“It’s just a perfect nursery for creativity and ideas; I think that’s what I love about being here,” the 10th grade student said.

Kusenberger wants to be an actor or a writer but said whatever she chooses, her time at NESA will help her thrive.

“No matter what I choose to do, my training here in musical theatre is really going to carry me on into the future to be a successful person,” she said.

Mr. Connelly previously worked in Chicago as a theater actor.

His experience and teaching style keeps learning fun and the students engaged.

“It never seems rehearsed; it’s always organic the way he teaches and it’s always fun. You never have a lame day in that class,” Kusenberger added.

Connelly said his own children attended NESA too.

“As a father and as a teacher, it was really thrilling to me that my children were able to go to a school that they could be who they are and they would be welcomed and they could grow,” he said.

NESA is a place where students feel welcomed for who they are.

“That’s the real power of NESA, it’s maybe less individual curriculum and it’s more of spending your high school experience feeling like you belong and that your interests are valuable and that you can do something important in the world.”

For more information about North East School of the Arts, click here:

The Spring application deadline to apply for NESA is April 3rd and auditions are scheduled for April 18th. Student acceptance for Spring are based on the availability of space.  

Discover the NEISD way, where our educators celebrate students’ individual differences to guide them toward success.

Ashley Speller