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Miss Camden Teen supports the arts through community service project

Posted: April 14, 2011 3:20 p.m.
Updated: April 15, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Hi, my name is Blythe Neal and I am an eighth grader at Camden Middle School. Let me tell you about myself. I play clarinet in the band, was a 2010 CMS cheerleader, run cross country for CHS, and have taken dance for 12 years including jazz, contemporary, ballet/pointe, tap, hip hop and musical theatre with the Southern Strutt dance company. I am also a member of the Camden Junior Shag Club and the SC Junior Shag Association. Currently, I am your Miss Camden Teen  2011 and will be competing in July 2011 for the title of Miss Teen SC under the Miss America Scholarship Organization. As Miss Camden Teen, I am trying to raise awareness and promote arts education in the public school system. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my community service project, “You Gotta’ Have Art.”

We are SO lucky to have arts education programs as part of the curriculum in many of our Kershaw County schools. These programs include art, music, strings, chorus, dance and drama. If it weren’t for these programs, many of our students would never be introduced to the exciting and wonderful world of fine arts and music. Statistics show that students involved in the arts perform better in school and are more creative. Funding for these programs, especially in rural school districts such as Kershaw County, is in danger. As a student involved in these programs, I will be contacting our state representatives to let them know how important arts education is in our schools. I hope you will too if given the chance. I am working with the Kershaw County Music Association and the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County to try and raise money for Arts Arising student scholarships. Arts Arising is a summer program for third through sixth graders in Kershaw and Lee Counties that identifies kids gifted and talented in the areas of fine arts and music. My sister and I were both Arts Arising students so this program is special to me.

I would like to personally thank all of our local arts education and music teachers!

All proceeds from my community service projects will benefit the Fine Arts Center, Arts Arising, the Kershaw County Music Association and the Children’s Miracle Network. If you would like to make a donation to my community service project, contact the FAC at 425-7676. Donations should be attention “Miss Camden Teen project.”

I have met some wonderful people in my short time as Miss Camden Teen and would welcome the opportunity to come speak to any groups, organizations or schools if you need me. To set up an event, call 427-2566.

Thank you, Camden, for being such a great hometown and for supporting me! Stay tuned for some awesome events coming your way. In my next column, I will highlight some previous Kershaw County arts education students and fill you in on what they are doing now! Remember, ‘You Gotta’ Have Art!”

(Blythe Neal is a contributing student columnist for the C-I from Camden Middle School and can be reached at


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