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.
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.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…