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Her love of song and dance led to an arts magnet school

Fifth grader Arael Stigler (left with the microphone) performs the role of Rafinki from the musical The Lion King.
Fifth grader Arael Stigler (left with the microphone) performs the role of Rafinki from the musical The Lion King.
Penny Guthrie

Chalkbeat journalists ask the people we come across in our work to tell us about their education stories and how learning shaped who they are today. Learn more about this series, and read other installments, here.

Arael Stigler is a fifth grader at Edison School for the Arts, a new K-8 magnet school born from the move of the elementary arts magnet program from Indianapolis Public School 70 to the former Key Learning Community site just West of downtown. We met her after she reprised her role as Rafinki from School 70’s spring musical The Lion King for the new school’s grand opening.
I mostly learned to sing from my dad and my mom. My family is, like, a singing family. I sing a lot at home. I just go to YouTube and look up my favorite singers. Chris Brown is my favorite.

I was in choir and they asked me if I could be Rafinki. I was so excited. I remember the movie so well from when I was little, especially Mufasa dying. And all the songs.

I started IPS when I was in first grade at School 105. I started going to Mary Nicholson School 70 in third grade. They gave me a pamphlet to pick any school I wanted and my mom and dad got a letter in the mail saying I could go to Mary Nicholson.

Math and dance are my favorites in school. My struggle is really reading. I don’t know why. I love math. I learn math really quick. The count of music is something you have to learn for dance. You wouldn’t know how to count if you didn’t have math.

When I grow up, I think I want to sing or dance. Maybe I’ll go to UCLA.

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