Extras in life are disappearing
Take away the extra in extracurricular and a pretty rudimentary framework is left. What is left is important — the fundamentals. But it will not ensure the development of a well-rounded individual.
In this age of cutbacks it seems like the extras are first to go. It is time to rethink what is extra and what is not. Music, art and sports are things that are crucial to our children’s lives — just like they are for adults.
It does not seem that long ago that home economics, wood shop and auto repair were standard offerings at schools. For the most part they have gone by the wayside all in the name of saving money. Yes, we are the worse off for that.
No one will argue that there are a variety of reasons the money has gone away. The issue is: How do we keep the “extras” with the money that is available?
It seems preposterous that a choir which for more than a decade has been taught after school would be moved into the main school day when neither the students nor the instructor requested this be done. The Black and White Choir at Whittell High School had 17 students who wanted to participate. When one considers there are only a couple hundred students in the entire school, 17 is a big group.
But six will not be allowed to participate because of a scheduling conflict now that choir is a class during the day.
What are we teaching our students? All work and no play will make Johnny a dull person. Is that the type of adult we are trying to mold — one who only knows how to read, write and add but has no appreciation for the things that really matter in life? What a shame.
To be able to sing is a wonderful gift. To have the guts to do so in front of people is in and of itself worthy of applause. Whittell for years has had classes before and after the normal school day. The new principal decided to do away with those periods this year.
Douglas and South Tahoe high schools still have those classes — knowing not everything fits into a “normal” school day. Those students, teachers and parents affected by the odd hours are willing to make the commitment/sacrifice because their “extra” class is that important to them.
This needs to be encouraged, not abolished.
An appreciation for the arts starts at an early age. It is scary to think about the Tahoe Arts Project losing its funding from the state — which amounts to about one-fourth of its budget. It will obviously have to put on fewer performances which means fewer youngsters being exposed to what it has to offer.
Music, art and sports need to be part of the curriculum — not just seen as extras.