- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

SELMA, Ala. (AP) - Like most 15-year-olds, Jania Pettway is preparing to go back to school this fall. However, Pettway’s return to class will require a move to a dorm at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

Pettway’s friend, Veigh Kaye Spencer, also 15, attended the school last year and encouraged her to apply. She went through a series of auditions earlier this year and found out in March that she had been accepted.

Pettway is an accomplished viola player and has played previously in the former Selma Youth Orchestra and attended summer camps at Florida State University.

She said her passion for music is like no other, and she can’t wait to begin class on Aug. 17.

“Music has just been my go to. If I’m feeling down, I can just go and play music and forget about it,” Pettway said. “I get to be around kids that actually feel the same way about music.”



Pettway has been playing the viola since she was 8 years old, and she doesn’t plan to quit any time soon.

“I want to stay in (music). Two colleges that I’m looking into right now are Juilliard and Vanderbilt. Those are my options and I’m excited to look into them,” she said.

With such aspirations, Pettway knows the importance of practice and spends around two hours a day doing just that, not counting lessons and class.

“I like the challenges that come with it,” Pettway said. “There’s so many different levels and pieces and composers, and so I like being able to look at music and reading it.”

Pettway attended Morgan Academy before being accepted into the fine arts school, and said the things she will miss the most are her relationships with her friends.

“I’ve gotten really close to a lot of the people and girls from my grade at Morgan last year, especially some of my friends that I played sports with. I have some really great friends and I’m really going to miss them,” she said. “That’s what I’m going to miss the most.”

Pettway’s mom, Leslie Pettway, said she is sad to see her move, but she is so proud of her and excited for her to have the opportunity.

“I’m very proud of Jania. She’s always done above and beyond in anything she does. It’s almost like it’s not a surprise, but it is,” Leslie said. “Her spirit is so humble, and because of that, she usually adapts easily to different things and different environments.”

Jania said she is honored to be from Selma, and she enjoys telling those she comes in contact with about her hometown.

“I’m very proud of it. It’s kind of cool to say that you came from Selma and now you’re going to a school in Birmingham,” Jania said. “I like having a history. I like saying that yeah, I was at the Jubilee, I walked over the bridge.”

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Information from: Times Journal, https://www.selmatimesjournal.com/

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