DCHS English department hosts inaugural Celebration of Self Through the Arts


photo by Cheyenne Zahn

ACOSTA allowed students to express themselves outside of the traditional essay.

This I Believe came to Delphi seven years ago when the English teachers were sitting at a department meeting before the first day of school doing some goal setting. Through this, they decided they wanted a way to showcase the talented students of DCHS to the community and to find a way to let students’ voices be heard beyond the classroom. 


After six years of hosting the This I Believe essay writing contest and community event, the English department noticed that the content was growing stale and feared they weren’t getting the quality of work from students that they wanted. The department felt that a change was warranted. In order to shake it up and attract more motivated participation, they decided to try something new, A Celebration of Self Through the Arts (ACOSTA). 


While with This I Believe, students could only express themselves through essays, ACOSTA allows students to express themselves through many art forms such as writing, singing, and dancing, or 2D and 3D art. 


This new program was a huge success. The first A Celebration of Self Through the Arts community program was hosted at the Delphi Opera House on Tuesday, March 7, with further support from The Sandwich Shop and Brick and Mortar Pub.  An estimated 140 people attended. Twenty-five talented DCHS students were showcased. Audience members experienced six essays, two poems, a song, a dance, a martial arts performance, a digital music performance, a student-produced video, and nine pieces of 2D art. 


Freshman Emma Kemp, who performed a lyrical contemporary dance, said her favorite part of the experience was the people. “Everyone was very encouraging and it brought joy to all of us.” 


Not only were people in the community able to see the expressive students, but their classmates and others competing in the contest were able to watch them as well. Junior Kylie Unger, who submitted an art piece, loved the whole event, but especially the dancing. “You could feel the vibrations of the music and it gave it a cool effect. It was really expressive.”


Senior Elah Abbott, a member of Advanced Culinary Arts class, was there to help cater the evening’s reception. Elah said, “I enjoyed seeing all of my talented classmates. And I left with a better appreciation of the arts we offer at school.”


This year’s featured artists included:


Javon Frost (junior) – essay


Ella Hudson (senior) – essay


Lily and Mckenzie Sandifur (juniors) – song


Anna Mills (freshman) – martial arts performance 


Eydie Brustle (junior) – poem


Kandi Balchunas (junior) – essay


Mia Wilson (senior) – photography and essay


Eric Achor (senior) – music


Asher Wilson (junior) – video


Mauricio Diaz Reyes (senior) – artist


Maci Ginn (freshman) – artist


Lilly Holston (senior) – artist


Cade Nelson (senior) – artist


Lilly Stacey (freshman) – artist 


Kylie Unger (junior) – artist


Sarah Walker (junior) – artist


Willow Wiley (sophomore) – artist 


Abby O’Neil (senior) – video


McKenna Eckhart (junior) – essay


Kayla Perez (senior) – essay


Autumn Mauer (sophomore) – poem


Lorelei Haley and Emma Kemp (freshmen) – dance