i am a good idea.

Save the Arts at Martins Ferry City Schools

Forgive me: I’m sure most of my blog subscribers have no idea where Martins Ferry, Ohio is. (Sometimes I wish I didn’t either.) Additionally, this has nothing to do with social media or marketing, but it has a lot to do with me being Cheryl, which is the name of this site, right? Right. And this is very important to (being) Cheryl, aka me.

Martins Ferry is my hometown – born and raised in the MF school district. In middle school I was NOT a band kid – I was uncool enough on my own, ha. My first taste of an arts class was music theatre, when I was in 8th grade. It was like a gateway drug (without the illegality or negative side effects.) I was smitten with performing, with being on stage, with learning a new skill, with my fellow thespians, and with the incredible teachers. This one class led to a spiral of additional music classes, so that, by my junior year of high school, five out of seven of my scheduled classes were music classes – music theatre, music theory, jazz band/percussion ensemble, band and choir. (Read: uberdork!)

Sadly, the people of Martins Ferry have never cared much about these programs. The town was featured on ESPN in the late 90’s for being through and through a football town. I support sports education just as strongly as I support the arts, so please don’t think I’m degrading the strong athletic program they do have, but support – and especially financial support – has always fallen to sports. There was no budget for sets or costumes or band uniforms – we bargained, thrifted, and fundraised our own way. When a brand new school complex was built 2 years ago, the first thing to get cut was a real stage (instead they put a sort-of stage in the cafeteria.)

But now, due to budget cuts, the Martins Ferry School Board is planning to cut the majority of these music programs – including the best, and my favorite, theatre.

My acting resume, bwahaha

I’m outraged. I strongly believe that these classes have made me the person I am today, and as a 21 year old influencer with more reach than the mayor of my Martins Ferry, I’m pretty proud of who I am. The music educators at Martins Ferry – Julia and Derek Wayne – are deeply invested in the studies and personal lives of their students. The music department is a family, and I can’t imagine how I would have got through high school without that family. But don’t take MY word for it:

  • A recent Conference Board Report revealed that 74% of employers agree that creativity is increasingly important in U.S. workplaces. More than half of these employers stated that entrants exhibited deficiencies in these skills.
  • A 2006 Harris Poll showed that Music Programs contribute to higher attendance and graduation rates
  • A JRME study revealed that students involved in music programs scored 20% higher in math and english

Source: VH1’s Save the Music

You might not ever visit Martins Ferry, and you may have never taken an arts class yourself, but I know you can appreciate the importance of a diverse education. I implore you to become a fan of the Save the Arts at Martins Ferry page on Facebook and leave a comment about why you believe a diverse course offering is important to student’s education. Also, feel free to share your comments here. I will be e-mailing this post to the board of education.

The Jazz Band Mafia:

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

8 Responses to “Save the Arts at Martins Ferry City Schools”

  1. Very sorry to hear about what’s happening at Martins Ferry. Since the football program is such a money generator, perhaps the theater program could perform halftime shows or design the sports uniforms. While I say that with sarcasm, perhaps there’s something in the idea. The school board must remember that an arts program is just as enlightening and critical as a sports program – One shouldn’t be chosen over the other…Both should be accommodated.

  2. Julayne says:

    Why do we teach reading? Because we are human beings, and human beings communicate with each other. Everybody does it; it’s part of *being* human. It therefore behooves us to teach our children to read so they can communicate well. In the same way, everybody does the arts. Whether drawing, singing, acting, playing or merely listening to music, it’s part of being human. It is just as much a method of communication as reading is. If we entertained the idea of stopping reading education because “we can’t afford it,” the outraged public would find a way to afford it because it is so important for our kids to learn to communicate in this way. We can’t afford not to teach them to read. The damage to them and to our society would be immeasurable. For the same reasons, we must keep arts education. It’s unthinkable that we would deny our children education in this universal form of human communication. The damage caused by cutting the arts would be immeasurable. We must keep arts education. We can’t afford not to.

  3. Cheryl says:

    @Jeremy: Absolutely. Hopefully this will finally be the tipping point for the community to take a stand for the arts.

    @Julayne: Beautifully said. What would a world without music sound like?!

  4. Nate says:

    Will do. This is tragic.

  5. […] Save the Arts at Martins Ferry City Schools | Being Cheryl: Social Media Marketing Tips from Columbus, Ohio – […]

  6. i love the band teacher and their going to let him go next year and i really think its a bad idea because most band kids are dedicated and love band so please keep the band teacher

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