November 20, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 35

Losing arts = lost opportunities

Jess Shut Up

Well, LRHS and GCD Middle school got the bands back together not long ago when they hired the new band teacher, Lisa Vaughn. I have seen her working late to get caught up after the late start. There were many of us in the community that were worried once again we will be losing an art form in our schools that will cripple the foundation of our children for years to come. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me back up a bit.

When I was in high school, (actually not that long ago) we had drama, chorus, band, art, Native American Club, refusal skills, Natural Helpers, journalism, safety, VICA, FBLA, Junior Miss, a nursing program, and I am sure I am forgetting other clubs and/or activities. There were also at least three groups of guys I can think of that had bands. A few years earlier than that there were even more, like, VOC Club, Spanish Club, BRA (Boys Rooting Association), Drill Team and PEP Club.

I know some of these programs have evolved into other things, some are there and still going strong, but there are some missing that are still needed and leaving an empty hole not only in our kids but in our community. I can remember a few years ago when were talking about cutting some sports due to funding and the area went into an uproar, but when these other things slipped quietly away in the night we almost didn’t notice.

The loss of a Drama Club is affecting us all right now. How? Planet Earth Players, heard of them? They are having a hard time getting new recruits to act in just about anything. Bravo to the Missoula’Children’s Theater and those that worked to get them here.

When we eliminate these programs, our kids lose a venue to hone skills, try something new, release emotions or excel at a skill when they might not have a gift in other areas. We are not all athletes and we know it, so when these other things are available, we can become victorious in other areas.

Now, I don’t want this to sound like I am on a local school bashing trip, because this is happening everywhere in America. I also know that our art class has been excellent for years, and we have turned a focus on education that takes up a lot of budget and teachers’ time. But we have to speak up sometime before the next piece is lost.

Can you imagine your favorite guitarist not ever being handed a guitar early in life? Or your favorite artist not being given a pencil and paper and told to go ahead and doodle today? Or your favorite actor not finding his joy on a stage? The list can go on and on. Simply, we need to give our children other outlets other than sports and video games.

So if the school cannot provide the extra curricular activities that our kids desire, we might have to do it ourselves. That could mean finding a local instructor for piano or guitar. Or volunteering to help put together a children’s play. Or even finding a local artist and convincing him/or her to give some tips to your budding artist. But it doesn’t stop there. When we have these events in town, attend, take your whole family to enjoy Mason Marin and his band in the park, to the Planet Earth Players next production, to an art show at the Senior Center or when they having reading time at the library. Get involved and take your kids. Who knows, they may write a column some day and say some pretty nice things about you.

• Also congrates to Miss G., well deserved.

• My condolences to the Davidson Family, a true area treasure was lost last week. She will be missed.

• And my condolences to the Tonasket and Stanzacks who also lost important members of their respective families.

• And thank you, Soy Redthunder, for the letter.

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