Vote for a better future for our children

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

By Deborah Craig 

read with interest the recent opinion piece entitled “To Do Nothing is to do Something,”

and even though my response may not be published in time for Tuesday’s PRC district bond issue vote, I feel compelled to share to an opinion (with an accompanying headline) that made no sense to me, whatsoever. Furthermore, I am continuously amazed how many adults in this community consider themselves experts on education when they are clueless as to the day-to-day realities and costs in public education, how technology has changed every aspect of it, and how all the disciplines, including the arts, contribute to the entire education of a student.

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The author of the opinion piece cast skepticism on the planned construction of a multi-purpose center, namely, an auditorium. Anyone who suggests a high school of over 800 students, (within 5 years, will probably be 1,000) which has a top notch concert band, choir, dance team, show choir, theater troupe, assemblies, annual events such as Senior Night, Honor Society installations, and numerous other events, does not “need” an auditorium. This is someone who needs to visit our high school when there is an “event” that is held, packed to the maximum, in the gym.

Also, anyone in this community is welcome to check with the Pearl River Central Office to obtain the number of PRCHS graduates in the last ten years who received college scholarships for band, choir, dance team, and theater. They’re not in the tens or twenties. They’re in the hundreds. More scholarships have gone to band, music, choir, dance and theater students than all athletics combined.

Moreover, these classes and disciplines help develop every aspect of the student, who will use the creativity, focus and “raise the bar” as he/she learns the arts and everything else in his/her academic life.

Now, anyone is also welcome to ask our current PRC teachers (in both the middle school and the high school) in band, dance team, choir, show choir and theater what it’s like presenting a program in a gym or the cafeteria. They will probably tell you this: it shortchanges the students and the community who could benefit from an auditorium; it hampers their performances at competitions; it interferes with athletic gym schedules and schedules for the maintenance of the cafeteria.

Then one could go to McNeill and ask the administration how often the small, outdated public speaking auditorium on that campus is used. The answer will be nearly every day: for just about everything. Actually, in many states, particularly in the northern tier, it would be unthinkable to build a high school campus without an auditorium. A venue for students’ music, public speaking, assemblies, ceremonies, concerts and plays is considered every bit as essential as a gym or a stadium.

On Tuesday, please keep this in mind when voting for a bond issue, which will raise property taxes to a level that will still be one of the lowest in the state. To do nothing? That is to tell our community’s children they’re not worth it. And that should not be acceptable to anyone. Our community and its children are worth it.