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Burkeen enrolls at Interlochen Center

Burkeen (click for larger version)
October 13, 2010 - Former Oxford High School student Connor Burkeen was accepted into one of the most prestigious fine arts boarding schools in the world.

Burkeen, 15 and a Lapeer resident, recently enrolled at the Interlochen Center for the Arts to study Motion Picture Arts.

"It has been something that I have wanted for such a long time and I finally gotten it," he said.

Interlochen is a year-round boarding high school based in Interlochen, MI that provides training in the arts, coupled with challenging and comprehensive college-preparatory academics.

The academy was founded in 1962 and attracts more than 500 young artists every year from 40 states and 15 countries.

Burkeen enrolled as a sophomore and has been amazed by how much he has learned already.

"The teachers here are so great...this high school is really amazing," he said. "It has been extremely beneficial here academically and artistically. You learn so much more about what you want to do that you couldn't learn anywhere else."

Burkeen takes typical high school courses before lunch and spends his afternoon in motion picture arts (MPA) block. This semester during MPA he is studying film history, lighting and introduction to production, where he learns the basic to a good movie.

He has already produced one short film about a student going to class, which was designed to showcase different camera shots and angles.

Burkeen found out about his acceptance into Interlochen while traveling with his parents in Florida. Burkeen said that his mother received the call and told him that they had heard from Interlochen.

It wasn't until his mother smiled that he knew that he had been accepted. "I didn't know what to say...I was so excited. That was the happiest I had been in such a long time," he added.

Burkeen has been involved in community theater since the age of six. He has performed in the Lapeer Youth Theater, Stagecrafters in Royal Oak and Flint Youth Theater. He knew that he wanted to become an actor, but his passion changed to directing and screenwriting after he started watching behind the scene footage.

"I started seeing things on set that really interested me, so I started investigating other roles in a film crew and decided that I really wanted to direct and write," he said.

He heard about Interlochen through a friend's parent and checked the program out on-line. Upon visiting the website, both Burkeen and his mother were impressed by the quality of video that the students.

"They were very professional," he said.

Burkeen had to submit transcripts from Oxford High School, in idea for a film, a portfolio showcasing everything that he has done in relation to motion picture arts and a creative writing piece.

Before attending Oxford, Burkeen was a student for 10 years at Kingsbury Country Day School in Oxford.

"They (Kingsbury) were a big help in the entire process...I wouldn't have been able to get in without them. The principal wrote a personal letter of recommendation," he said.

He added that when he went back for a weekend event, everyone came up to him and congratulated him. "They were all so supportive."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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