"VPAC is the school that I needed." Mama Auset
Mama Auset founded VPAC 17 years ago when she came to Denver, as the dancer of her family, only to find out her little sister, Mama Janette had helped form a dynamic group of dancers. Mama Auset vowed to give this diverse group of high schoolers her money, time, effort, and energy until she found a job. The first citywide audition this group held over 200 dancers showed up! These dancers made sure being their coach was her job!
Over the next 16 years, Mama Auset led the group to evolve from dance to all performance arts education after-school and elective programming selling out every event and becoming a beacon in the African and Latinx American community. The students, parents, and community eventually demanded Auset expand into a school and she answered the call. VPAC pilitoed every aspect of the school for 6 years in summer and winter break programs that mimicked the school. From hiring processes to determining if VPAC was a tiny, innovative, restart, charter, or public school, VPAC has had opportunities to remain loyal to the fidelity of the community model without wavering. The consistent improvement in students affirmed that the VPAC Educational Model was successful. The community demand was ALWAYS with the desire for Mama Auset to lead VPAC as an independent school that served ECE-12th grade. Through every summer pilot, and the blessing in disguise of COVID-19, it was clearer and clearer that the community was RIGHT!
Get to know Mama Auset! Interview by VPAC students part 1
VPAC Students: Ago!
Mama Auset: LOL AME!
VS: How long have you been doing VPAC?
MA: For 17 years.
VS: That's a long time. You never wanted to give up?
MA: I need you to listen to me really good, all y'all. NO ONE CAN STOP YOU FROM YOUR DREAM, MISSION OR WHAT GOD GAVE YOU TO DO. EVER! I am soooo thankful for VPAC. I have learned and grown and sat in patience for VPAC. Some other great things fell in my lap as well. I am so much stronger, wiser, and better because of my commitment to VPAC and being the best leader I can be. I took ownership of my education and sought out all the support I needed and now, I am a better Mama Auset for y'all. Every single person who chooses to fulfill a LARGE life, has to remain consistent to bring them to an even bigger dream than they imagined. Please y'all, for real, remember that for the rest of your life. You NEVER give up. When you fall, you get back up BETTER than you were.
VS: So kinda like in VPAC when we say you have the chance to show you learned and like Maya Angelou said 'when you know better, you do better."
MA: Look at you quoting our ancestor! Yes that is exactly what it is.