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Arts education takes her to Stanford

SANTA ANA — Movie posters covered the walls of a small room containing a large desk covered in different sized monitors and control boards full of knobs and switches.

The room is the control center of “Art Attack,” the Orange County High School of the Arts’ daily video announcements that recent graduate Adriana Baird, 18, oversaw as technical director.

“I’m in here every day,” she said in an interview last month.

Baird, a Newport Beach resident, was one of 17 Newport-Mesa residents who graduated from OCHSA at a ceremony June 14 at the Calvary Chapel in Santa Ana.

The Santa Ana public charter school, which serves more than 1,500 students in grades 7 to 12, gives students an intensive arts education on top of the normal academic offerings.

Baird decided to go to OCHSA in seventh grade, instead of Corona del Mar Middle School. She wanted to study musical theater, but she always planned to come back to Newport for high school.

She ended up liking it so much she never left.

It was the diverse student population that kept Baird at the school. The students are all so different that there aren’t any cliques, and everyone fits in because there is no normal, she said.

“The atmosphere is a lot of different than any school I’ve ever been to,” she said.

Baird did change her mind on musical theater and switched to film and television. Whether she wants to go into film or television switches with her mood, but they both let her use her creativity and organizational skills.

In the film and television conservatory, in addition to her work for “Art Attack,” Baird has made several film projects and, for the school’s gala, manned a live-feed TV crew beside industry professionals.

“It doesn’t even feel real,” she said. “OCHSA’s given me opportunities that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.”

The honors student has gotten outside experience taking film classes at summer camps and an internship with a broadcast station. Last summer, she studied at USC School of Cinematic Arts. She was accepted to Stanford University in the fall.

Baird said she is excited to go to Stanford, but sad to leave OCHSA behind. She will take with her one of the most important lessons the school has instilled in her: the importance of taking risks.

“If I hadn’t taken the risk to come here, I wouldn’t be into film,” she said. “I wouldn’t be going to Stanford.”

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