Monday, March 8, 2010

Why the Arts are important in our school system

As I was teaching today, I was reminded of why I love to give back to high school arts programs. Here's how the programs in my public school changed my life:

I was always a dancer, from the day I was old enough, I was in the studio taking classes. This continued up through high school, when I was dancing on the Advanced Dance team. During my sophomore year, for one year ONLY, the Advanced Dance team was "forced" to be in the Spring musical - that backfired, and all but three members dropped the class that semester. I was one of the three who stayed. We performed in the ensemble and created some of the choreography for the show. I distinctly remember the day I was sitting watching a run-through of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, and thought, "I could DO that." SO... I did. Throughout the process, I was blessed to have a choral director and acting teacher who saw something special in me. They gave me SOOOOOO many opportunities in the next two years of my education, and my life changed COMPLETELY and IRREVOCABLY. I would not be the person that I am today without those two teachers, their belief in my potential and the opportunities they provided. I can't even say what I'd be doing now instead, honestly. That's how much they changed my life.

In a time of budget cuts, when high school students are organizing protests against the elimination of teaching positions and programs, the Arts are always the first to go. I guess politicians think they're not important - but they ARE. They have more power to shape the personalities, work ethic, social abilities and creative potential of a generation than any combination of the maths and sciences (which I also heartily support - don't get me wrong).

Deep cuts to the arts hurt my soul! Please support the arts in your local school!

:::stepping off my soapbox now:::

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