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Old 04-14-2015, 11:33 PM
EmmaR EmmaR is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: skeleton hell
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Ahaha okay so I literally did a speech on this in my english class maybe I should just post it here

The [school] interscholastic athletic program serves the mission of the school and the vision for athletics by providing our student-athletes
• A progression from participation to development to high levels of achievement.
• Coaches who are highly effective and committed to engaging in the life of the school.
• Facilities and equipment that attract, serve, and inspire students, coaches, and fans.
• Active promotion and celebration of the program within the school community.

Active promotion and celebration of the program within the school community. That’s the last bullet point of [school]’s athletic program mission statement. In 2011, the school made a commitment to refocus the vision of the athletics program and to invest time, money, and social power into sports at this school. This is a perfect mission statement. Sports are an integral part of adolescent development. Sports teach teamwork, kindness, and healthy competition all while providing students with at least two hours a day of much needed physical activity. I don’t question the importance of sports as a mechanism for social interaction, either. Just ask my eighth grade basketball team. We were tight. Still, I get hung up on that last bullet point. Active promotion and celebration of the program within the school community. What does that mean? It means tailgates. It means a new facility. Nice, new uniforms. Constant talk of athletic achievements by the administration. Special treatment for some varsity athletes when it comes to making up classwork or participating in PE. A school culture and climate revolving around athletics. So, why is this mission statement limited to the athletics program? Why not extend these bullet points to, say, the arts program? Why not make a promise to the athletes of the stage and the pottery wheel to actively promote and celebrate the fruits of their tireless labor? Some of you may be wondering: How are arts as important as sports? And how can they bring the [school] community together?
The first question is an easy one to answer. As teenagers, we are subject to a slurry of emotions and situations that we don’t know how to deal with in any way other than pure expression, which is, essentially art. Art is not only a hobby or a fun activity, it is a necessary medium for the communication of the human experience. Now, I know that sounds incredibly pretentious, and that’s because it is, but really think about it. Being a teenager is messy. Art gives you a sense of control. A sense of order. If [school] could create a culture around art that mirrored the intensity of that around athletics, it would bring us to the second question: how can arts bring the [school] community together? Arts promote an environment of support and openness. Imagine playing in a sports game, looking out into the crowd, and seeing no familiar faces. Nobody’s cheering you on. Nobody even knew you had a game today. Now imagine you’ve been rehearsing for a performance every day for three months. The day comes, and you’re out on stage speaking to a half-filled house or playing flute to empty seats. Imagine you’ve been perfecting this one painting for half of a term, and nobody even knows you’ve done it. This is being in the arts program at [school]. If we could treat arts like we do sports, I guarantee that the whole climate of the school would shift to one that is more receptive to displays of emotion and supports the interests of fellow students.
So how can the school go about actively promoting the arts? One thing would be to accept more art-based service learning. It was recently brought to my attention through meetings with service learning coordinators there has been a precedent set at [school] that portrays arts as not fulfilling a measurable need in the community, whereas at other schools art-based service easily fits this description. [school] is an outlier in this regard. This denial of art as a legitimate way to enrich the lives of others belies a devaluing of the arts within the [school] community. Art is power of expression. Bringing art into a community is bringing that community together, and how can one argue that that’s not service? Art creates critical and creative thinkers. How can one argue that that’s not learning?
Another action that [school] can take would be to make arts showcases more accessible. For sports events, tailgates are right after school. There’s free food, which will convince any [school]-er to stay, even if it’s raining and you don’t like soccer. Arts showcases, instead of being displayed, are tucked away. [school] is not a community-based school, which means that if you want to see that show your friend is in, or if you want to see that photography display, you have to make an effort to come back to the school. For some people, especially those who live in Sammamish or Kirkland or even Woodinville, this is not an option. Arts are inaccessible to those unwilling or unable to return to campus, which is most of the student body.
Sports are essential. Athletics promote teamwork, sportsmanship, compassion, and work ethic. Arts are essential. Arts promote creativity, expression, openness, and acceptance. Two sides of the same coin. Both are important, but only one is being recognized as such. The power and importance of the arts in our community can go unrecognized no longer.
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