A few weeks ago my wife and I attended Renaissance High School’s production of The Wiz at the International City Theatre. The students were wonderful! Their singing, dancing, and acting talents and their enthusiasm brought back memories of my years as a high school teacher. Back then, my wife and I would take our own small children to high school productions. They later went on to become members of their high school bands. To this day our children’s participation in those school activities continues to shape their lives.
If you look past Renaissance High’s remarkable production values and the students’ amazing talents and enthusiasm, what you’ll see are young adults of all ability levels and backgrounds learning to work together to achieve common goals. What you’ll also see is the participation of those students’ families – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles – in the productions and in the audiences.
This is why I will fight to preserve visual and performing arts programs, school libraries and athletic teams at all levels. They are not extracurricular activities. They are integral to student success. They help close achievement gaps, reduce drop-out rates and propel students to become lifelong learners better prepared to succeed in higher education and to become productive members of our community.