We Need Arts In The Schools

We Need Arts In The Schools

Defunding the arts is defunding life
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Since I was in elementary school, I have based my education off of the arts. From chorus to band, theatre to writing and drawing, I always had something creative going on. Regardless of my age or how wild my imagination could be, creating was something I loved to do. Whether it was building the lives of characters on a page or bringing those characters to life in a play, I created. Since childhood, I have not stopped being involved in the arts. I believe that this has not only shaped me as a person but influenced my life for the greater good. My exposure to the arts in elementary school allowed me to gain lifelong skills.

The arts belong in the school curriculum.

The arts belong in every person's life, not to be pushed aside by other subjects. Of course, math and science are important for each child to understand where the world comes from and how it works. But ask yourself this: how could we make the world all that it is today without the arts? And how can we continue to change, improve, and influence the world if we push art out of the everyday life?

"The study of drama, dance, music, and the visual arts helps students explore realities, relationships, and ideas that cannot be conveyed simply in words or numbers." Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education 2011.

Imagine your living room. Picture the color of the walls, the furniture, the television and the movie it might be playing. Now, imagine the people who designed each part. An architect designed the limits of the space. Wall colors and floor materials could have been picked by an interior designer. Actors, directors, producers, and set and sound directors helped make the movie that is playing on your television. Your life has been built by people who are involved in the arts. So why are we taking it away from education?

"Arts education isn't something we add on after we've achieved other priorities, like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It's actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place." Michelle Obama, First Lady.

When a child learns a skill influenced by the arts, they aren't memorizing information for tests. They are learning how to do things with their own hands and minds. They learn that being themselves is OK, being unique is the key to life. This person can now go on to influence another generation with their perspectives granted to them by the arts. That is the reason arts are so important, and why I wanted to major in theatre education.

What other significances do arts in the curriculum give to our students? You'd be surprised how well-rounded students can be when involved in creative pastimes. A study by James Catterall in both the 1990's and in 2009, showed a correlation between good grades and high involvement in the arts. The study found that these creative students had better grades, higher earnings, and more volunteer hours than the average student. Another study from 2014 showed similar data to James Catterall's study. Students that took four years of music and art classes had higher SAT scores.

Do the world a favor and support education by supporting arts in the school. Give kids the chance to learn about themselves, show them how they can change the world. Let life continue to bloom and flourish, just like the arts allow it to.

Cover Image Credit: Craftwhack

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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4 Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Making Laws About Women's Bodies

Why do men get to decide if women have a choice?

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Everyone is so quick to judge, especially Christians. Going forward, I'd like to make a point. As Tomi Lahren wrote in a Twitter post on May 16, 2019: "You're not God so don't you dare evaluate my faith based on your moral superiority complex." In more words, judging someone is a sin, and each sin is seen as the same in God's eyes. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death..."

There is no specification as to which sin wages as the worst, so before you are so quick to judge, remember we are all seen as the same in God's eyes.

1. Men cannot become pregnant

"Men cannot become pregnant." They have no idea what it is like to be pregnant and to co-exist for an entire 9 months.

2. Men say things like... 

"Rape is kinda like the weather. If it's inevitable, relax and enjoy it." — Clayton Williams, TX Rep.

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down." — Todd Akin, MO Rep.

"Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation." — Rick Santorum, PA Rep.

"If a woman has the right to abortion, why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death." - Lawrence Lockman, ME Rep.

3. Men do not get their rights taken away by female politicians 

I'm sure there are things men go through that women couldn't imagine. But we don't judge them about whatever those things may be. Most women are advocates for men and their health. They acknowledge statistics about men, their mental health, and their physical health. We would never want to force men to get (what most of the media is buzzing about) a vasectomy until marriage. That isn't right, and no one would ever consider doing something that radical because ironically enough, it isn't right to tell someone else what to do with their body.

4. Men are men, politicians are politicians, and that doesn't mean they have the appropriate education to make decisions like this 

Some men are rather educated on women and their bodies. On the other hand, there are thousands of men, even men that are in the public eye all the time, that are not educated on women and women's health. They are politicians, they want to win, they want to manipulate, and they will use every single tool that they can to get to the top. Most of the men signing these bills into place have no credibility when it comes to women's health.

At the end of the day, this list could be so long that it would take hours to read. But, it shouldn't have to be. If a man isn't educated and credible enough, he shouldn't be making laws. Women's bodies aren't a playground to see who can go the furthest on the monkey bars. We must put a stop to this. We have to educate our youth. Most of all, we have to put these manipulative politicians in their place.

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