Juanita High School (JHS) students were treated to a two-hour music festival on Sept. 13.
High School Nation (HSN) is a traveling festival with the goal to expose high school students to art and music.
The High School Nation Tour aims to support creative expression among teens through musical festivals and programming and will be visiting 40 high schools throughout the country this fall.
JHS is one of five Washington schools on the tour.
Mike Cantillon, HSN director of brand partnerships, said one of their goals is to get students excited about the arts. The idea is to expose students to possible careers in the arts in a way that’s interactive and accessible.
Cantillon said HSN is not just a traveling concert. HSN partners with several music and education organizations including Guitar Center and Other World Computing. Each school HSN visits receives a donation package that includes professional recording equipment to help give students the opportunity to enhance their musical learning.
“We want to show kids that they can have a career in the arts,” Cantillon said. “For any kind of performance, there’s more than just the person front and center — it takes a village to put on any show.”
Ashleigh Hasslinger, leadership activities coordinator at JHS, said HSN came to the school last spring for a lunchroom question and answser session. HSN reached out to her and the school’s principal about returning to JHS.
“It’s a great way to promote the arts and help students understand their futures,” Hasslinger said.
The two-hour festival featured performances from up-and-coming acts, including Almost Monday, Lil Key and Emily Perry. The headliner act was Silento, of “Whip/Nae Nae” fame.
JHS senior Grace Tom is a brand manager for Hollister Co., which sponsors HSN. As part of her role, she does marketing and small events for the clothing company. She had heard about HSN and wanted her school to be one of the tour stops.
“I wanted it to help raise school spirit,” Tom said.
She said with the ongoing construction at the school, many students’ school spirit has been on the decline. Tom along with Hasslinger and the school, helped bring HSN to Juanita.
Having HSN at her school was important.
“I’m just so happy we could give this experience to other students,” Tom said. “I want Juanita to be a place for people to share the love of music and each other.”
Tom said she hopes the event will raise school spirit and get students excited about the arts and school.
“I hope it inspires them to pursue their passions in the arts,” Tom said.