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The Colonel Chronicle

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Arts Education in Worcester Needs Extra Funding

Arts Education in Worcester Needs Extra Funding

Growing up, I noticed that few people looked like me on the TV screen or in theaters. In the action movies I enjoyed, something was missing. It takes a lot of talent and creativity to be in the performing arts, and I wanted to have someone to aspire to. 

I realized this was not a coincidence when I started participating in the performing arts.

With three-quarters of the students in Worcester being students of color and low-income, school might be a student’s only exposure to the arts. This is a problem because students miss out on the many benefits that come with arts education. Dance studios charge thousands of dollars, art supplies can build in cost, and music instructors charge $50-100 per lesson. The arts are costly. Required clothing, shoes, and books also add to these high prices.

Having been in the Worcester Public Schools my whole life, I have appreciated the opportunities for music and visual arts education. However, there are so many other arts that students can thrive in. Even considering schools in the district like Burncoat, which is a school dedicated to the arts, peers tell me that the auditorium has outdated lighting and sound systems and that the dance studios need serious updates.

Some schools do not even have thriving arts programs. Sullivan Middle School has just stopped offering a chorus class and only students Goddard Scholars program can join Band class. Many schools only have a class designated as “Music.” There are no specialized music programs that can fit each student’s passions, whether it be singing or instrumental.

An arts education can help students develop social-emotional skills, something the pandemic has recently made more difficult for students. Additionally, it can give students more of a reason to come to school and become more motivated to do their work. Also, it can reduce stress levels and improve focus in the classroom. From my own experience, I have felt that presentations and public speaking became easier with the arts. I have performed in front of crowds, making presentations to peers feel like nothing.

There is so much that can come when students have access to an arts education. However, the price tag is high, and that can be a deterrent for many families. Extra funding for the arts can go a long way, and it is an investment we should take.

With the arts, I have found communities beyond South High where I can be myself and express myself in ways I did not think were possible. I hope with that extra funding, students across the district can experience the same and gain even more.

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About the Contributor
Jason Murillo, Editor-In-Chief
I am excited to be co-editor-in-chief of the newspaper as we launch our brand new website to our peers, our teachers, and those we know in the Worcester Community. I greatly enjoy writing as I see it as a great method of self-expression, and I particularly enjoy it in a journalistic setting. Outside of the newspaper, I am part of the Drama Club, A Capella, and Chorus. I have also published works in The Apricot Journal. Outside of South High, I am a student at The Hanover Theatre Conservatory and am part of their Youth Acting Company. Performance arts is a big interest for me for similar reasons as writing. Feel free to email me at [email protected].
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