School provides a creative outlet

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School provides a creative outlet

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Students gather on Jan. 6 in the band room they helped remodel at Universal Performing Arts School in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang. From left: Jeong Si-wook, who is studying theater and film; Shin Ji-hyeok, an applied music major; Kim Jae-wan, who is also studying theater and film; Lee Ju-won, an interior design major; and aspiring models Kim Han-sae, Bae Yoo-hwan and Kim Hyeong-woo. [GONG JEONG-SIK]

Over the past year, Kim Hyeong-woo has worked hard toward his goal of finding success in the entertainment industry, a path that has so far included finishing as the runner-up in the 2015 SBS Supermodel Contest.

“I dropped out of high school in 2014 and went to UPAS to become a model,” the 18-year-old said.

He, like many other young aspiring entertainers, chose to attend the Universal Performing Arts School (UPAS) primarily because of its curriculum, which seeks to nurture students who have aptitudes beyond English and mathematics.

The school, affiliated with Daekyeung University and located Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang, was built in 2014 with the purpose of producing the next generation of Korean entertainers.

Since its establishment, 40 students have enrolled and the first group of seven students will graduate next month.

And among them, there have already been several standouts.

Joo Young-un, 19, who enrolled at UPAS in 2014, has long dreamed of becoming a famous singer and drummer. He practices every day and watches video clips of the bands that have influenced him most.

In July 2015, Joo was also selected as the high school division winner for his performance in Korea’s 11th Dokdo Arts Festival.

At UPAS, the students take classes on their majors for more than three hours per day. The courses are mainly taught by entertainers - all professors at Daekyeung University. Students may also switch majors freely if their job aspirations change.

The school aims to provide an educational environment in which students can achieve their goals and tap into their individual talents.

But UPAS also wants to generate intelligent entertainers, and students are strictly prohibited from causing disturbances.

“Because I’m being acknowledged for my talents [that lie] outside studying, there’s no reason to make trouble,” said UPAS student Shin Ji-hyeok, 18, an aspiring rapper.

“I’m happy that I’m being encouraged to fulfill my potential as a rapper.”

Yoo Jin-sun, 56, the founder of Daekyeung University, is also working toward constructing buildings with multiple stages to hold live performances and increasing the number of UPAS students.

“I would like UPAS to be a global role model of other alternative schools,” Yoo said.

BY KIM YOUN-HO [kim.hyangmin@joongang.co.kr]

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