PPA Profile: Nolan McDowell ‘22

He enrolled in PPA’s unique combined arts and academic elementary school in 3rd grade and graduated from middle school in 2022. Nolan, a sophomore at Cherokee Trail High School, recently reflected on his experiences as a student with us:


It Was Magical to Perform at PPA


It felt magical to perform at PPA. I was truly in my happy space. I loved it!”


Nolan McDowell, ‘22


Headshot of Parker Performing Arts alumni Nolan McDowell playing the lead role in Sherlock Holmes.


PPA’s elementary and middle schoolers spend half the day in academic classrooms with teachers like Zak Sloan who find creative ways to engage learners in deep study of history, literature, math, and science.


Their daily performing arts training is led by working professionals in dance, music, and theater like Courtland Peterson who trained with the American Ballet Theater and the Bolshoi Ballet.

PPA is Accepting and Encouraging

While attending PPA Nolan studied acting and singing, but he also tried other disciplines like dance and instrumental music. (All 5th & 6th graders learn to play an instrument.)


“When I was a student, I tried dance. Everyone was so accepting and encouraging.

Even if you don’t excel, you can still have tons of fun doing something like dance.”


Nolan McDowell, ‘22


Headshot of Parker Performing Arts alumni Nolan McDowell playing the lead role in The Wizard of Oz.


No auditions are required to attend PPA. Any K-8 student interested in exploring the arts is welcome. Instruction is offered at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. During his years at PPA Nolan performed in eight stage productions including Seussical, The Wizard of Oz, Omelette, The Little Mermaid, Young Sherlock, High School Musical, Matilda, and Robin Hood.


“PPA really is a school like no other. Its community is so diverse, yet welcoming. The teachers feel like they’re excited to teach. You’ll graduate feeling happier with honed skills in

academics and the arts. That’s not something you can get at a

regular ol’ elementary/middle school.”


Nolan McDowell, ‘22


Nolan continues to build on the skills he developed at PPA and currently performs in high school and community theater. Recently Nolan performing in productions of  The Giver and The Addams Family.


Parker Performing Arts School is now enrolling for the 2024-2025 school year. A limited number of spots are still available in the elementary and middle school. Complete this form to learn more. We’d love to see your child thrive with us!




About Parker Performing Arts School


Parker Performing Arts School (PPA) is a public, tuition free performing arts school serving elementary and middle school students, chartered by the Douglas County School District. We deliver the art of education combining a rigorous academic curriculum and daily training in performing and visual arts We accept all K-8 students interested in pursuing their artistic passion. Enroll now.