"Merits of fine arts can't be overstated" by: Jessica Shepard

Jessica Shepard | Life's Lemonade

   As a former fine arts student of Bay City ISD, I applaud the efforts those educators are taking to bring an honors curriculum into our schools.
   I lettered in choir and spent a total of nearly eight years in choir throughout my career as a student of BCISD.
   Choir and my choir directors spoke to me on a level where subjects like science, physical education or math were failing.
   The fine arts gave me a chance to express myself in not only the least expensive way, but, in a way that was tailored to my needs.
   Without choir, I might not have been able to overcome my chronic asthma and the need for an emergency inhaler at all times.
   Without choir, my social anxiety would have been much worse than it is now.
   Choir gave me a way to voice my emotions, no pun intended.
   I believe that if there had been an honors curriculum when I was attending Bay City High School, I would have signed up in a heartbeat.
   There’s something appealing about earning GPA credits in something you love rather than taking a class you aren’t fond of being in.
   I did fairly well with dual classes like U.S. History, government and economics and squeaked by in biology.
   I regret not taking dual English, but, that was due to a monetary problem and knowing that in college it would be easier for me to keep up there than if I had traded that opportunity with something like biology.
   Money is another factor that some might not have considered.
   Dual classes, AP testing and their subsequent waste of money if one doesn’t pass with a high enough grade, make the exploration of alternative honors credits that much more appealing.
   I would have preferred to get my GPA points in an honors course that didn’t require me to pay for a test to get college credit either.
   As it stands, I graduated with a solid 3.6 GPA and am still quite proud of that fact.
   It might not have been the top 10 percent, but, it has afforded me plenty of opportunities.
   Which also makes me wonder: don’t we put enough emphasis on core curriculum and standardized testing?
   Are we squeezing the creativity out of students by inciting some sort of GPA panic?
   Why does a student have to choose between something they genuinely enjoy and some little number that tries to pigeon-hole their worth?
   Students are more than a number and it’s time to give them the opportunity to achieve their greatest and truest self rather than penalizing them.
   Fine arts deserves to count for more than just one year’s worth of credit then to be an elective with no value.
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