The four of us have been charged with determining the recipients of the two annual William D. Bauman Memorial Music Scholarships for Niles McKinley High School.
A topic for discussion came up during our last meeting. It was the fact that there was thread throughout many of the essays written by the applicants, as to what music has meant to them in their educational experiences.
Some said they were shy and it brought them out of their shell; the band was like a family to them. Others said that the dedication it took to play an instrument carried over to other subjects and resulted in these fields being improved. Still, others said band was the highlight of their school day; it was what kept them in school with graduation as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Our concern was wondering how many students would not have made it had it not been for band. We surmised that other students had other extracurricular activities of interests, such as art, speech, sports, etc., that they have embraced with gusto.
It is generally believed that the three R's need to be the core of an early educational experience. They are needed by all. However, the extras have so much meaning to so many students. It is too bad so many of them are being cut back or even eliminated in the curriculum.
In these days of a slow economy and many families having hard times, we couldn't come up with what may be the answer(s) to the dilemma. However, our concerns remain. How many students have we lost before the finish line and continue to lose as deeper cuts are made?
The letter was also signed by Bob Miller, Dottie Fogel and Leslie Core