Local lawmakers investing $1.5 million to Peoria High School fine arts


Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois lawmakers are investing $1.5 million into fine arts programming at Peoria High.

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) alongside state Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) joined District 150 leaders Thursday afternoon to announce the creation of P-Media.

Gordon-Booth said P-Media will be a 21st-century teen digital learning space, exclusive to Peoria High School. She said there will be an emphasis on print, digital, and visual media.

She said the idea came after speaking with young people during a speed mentoring session where she heard stories about similar programs on the southside of Chicago. She said these programs helped young people explore their creativity, identify areas of interest and keep them out of trouble.

She said she, then, reached out to Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat and PPS School Board President Gregory Wilson about the concept. She said the funding comes from the state’s fiscal year 2023 budget.

Gordon-Booth said the space will allow students to work on graphic design, photography, videos, podcasts, and there will even be a music studio.

She said the goal is to provide students, early on, with technological skills that will ensure success.

"We know that graphic artists, digital artists, content creation that isn’t a novelty it’s a reality, and in business it’s a necessity and we want our young people to go out into the world and be second to nobody," Gordon-Booth said. "So, we’re going to make sure they have the tools for success right here at Central."

She said the space will allow students to write their own destiny.

Martha Ross, Peoria Public School Vice President said, the lab, which will be offered during the school day, will allow students the chance to exercise more of their creative side.

"I know that we have students that are A-B students and they get recognized but you know we have students also that are C students who if had the opportunity to show their talents and to show their creativity would become A students," Ross said.

Dr. Kherat said the upcoming year will be for planning and 2023/2024 will be for implementation.

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May 12, 2022 at 06:45PM

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