Bring back mandatory art and music at the 10th grade level at Fredericton High School

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Hello Fredericton Community! Here's an important mission for you!

Music and Art is being withheld from high school students!

The facts:

Very recently Fredericton high school went through with a decision to no longer make music and art at the grade 10 level required courses for graduation. The policy previously stated that students in the 10th grade were obligated to take either music or art with one other elective course (broad based technology or physical education) and now that is no longer the case. While music and art are still offered (unless that changes too) it is not a graduation requirement that students complete one of them. Students could complete their elective courses with a combination of technology and physical education. 

Why it's a problem:

You might be thinking to yourself "This seems harmless enough. I never cared for music or art when I was in high school... so why can't we just let students do what they want...?"

Allow me to answer the question above. Ahem.

There are still courses in other subjects that are mandatory for students to complete as a part of their graduation requirements. Courses in the fields of math, science, English etc. We would never think to make these courses optional, would we? Math is important, isn't it? Everyone needs to understand at least some basic level of mathematics right? Yes of course! We should NOT make math/science/English optional so why are we so quick to do it with the fine and visual arts? Why do we as a society accept it when the fine/visual arts as fields are invalidated? These are academics in their own right! Furthermore, they foster creativity, culture, and community (the holy trinity, if you ask me) something that math and chemistry will never be able to do.

Going off of that point, it's also important to note that the actions of a school inevitably set a precedent. If Fredericton High School wants to lead by example, this is frankly, a very poor means by which to do so. We want to demonstrate to young people that the fine/visual arts are legitimate career choices and important fields in our society. We want students whose passions lie in music and/or art to feel as though their aspirations are valid, accepted, revered and appreciated. We also want stem focused students who may otherwise never pick up a paintbrush to be well rounded individuals who are able to find it within themselves to respect their artistic peers and appreciate the work that they do.

To Conclude: 

Unfortunately at Fredericton High school, students are too often informally discouraged from pursuing their passion for the arts. In the 11th grade when I was hired by a theatre company to take part in a professional theatre production, I had to miss five weeks of school for rehearsals and performances. I remember telling my math teacher about this wonderful news and watching her laugh in my face. Ouch. Then in the 12th grade when I wanted to take a university level theatre course as part of a dual-credit option offered by the school, my guidance counsellor told me that it wouldn't be possible. I did it anyways, of course, and completed my university courses with A's. My high school marks didn't suffer either! It was a good thing I believed in the strength of my own inner artist because certain adults definitely did not! Now, please bear in mind that there are many wonderful, hard-working music and art teachers at Fredericton High School who do nothing but ENCOURAGE their students to pursue their passions. These teachers are role-models, nay, leaders, nay, HEROES! Yes, heroes who I'm sure would prefer to share their life's work with as many students as possible. NOT just the ones that are already in the production, jazz band and art club! 

Thank you for your consideration. I implore you to do your own research and discover all that you can about the importance of art/music in public high schools! Check out CBC'S recent article where they interview former staff and students, and head on over 105.3 the Fox to listen to a brief description of the issue. I hope you can find it within your heart to sign this petition. You would be making the world a better place, one school at a time. 

Thank you again!

Sincerely, 

A former FHS highschooler who is appreciative of everything music and art has taught her.

(Elena Hrkalovic)