Arts Education for Whittier Tech

This petition made change with 1,344 supporters!


Arts. Save. Lives.

The administration of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill, MA is working to cut down or eliminate the Art and Music electives, as well as related after school programs such as Art Club, Chorus, and Drama Club. This would also effect the jobs and pay of Celine Soucy (Art Teacher) and Linda Urban (Music Teacher). This is the result of “budget cuts”. The school is pouring tons of money into a sign for the school, a new football field with high-quality turf, a new track, and a jumbotron instead of paying for arts education. This is an outrage.


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-Zach DePaolo, Class of 2020


Attached is my letter to administration regarding the arts slash:

Dear Whittier Tech Administration,

My name is Zach DePaolo. I am a junior at Whittier Tech, and arts have created the foundation for my entire life.

When I was little, I would spend hours upon hours alone in my room writing little plays and performing them for family members. It was my childhood. Every kid loves superheroes or monsters or dinosaurs. I’d beg my parents to let me watch movies like The Sound of Music or Little Shop of Horrors every single night. It brought me joy.

As I grew up, the arts served as a home for me, surrounding me with a loving support system when I came out as gay, and allowing me a place to survive and thrive, expressing myself in every form of creativity I could get my hands on. They have shaped my very person and everything I do.

Since freshman year at Whittier Tech, I have spent every minute I can with Linda Urban in her music room- in our music room. That room is my second home, a place to go when everything else is falling apart. This year, I served as the Vice President of Drama and Chorus, Assistant Choreographer, Dance Captain, and Set Designer. I spent countless hours in the art room with Celine Soucy, building and decorating set pieces for the musical production of Curtains that I poured all of my energy and time into.

Linda Urban has changed my life. I trust her and love her like a mother and she has done nothing but support me- support all of us- and give us what we need to fly and flourish and create.

I never got to take Ms Soucy’s class, but I spent time with her on set decorating for the musical and I can say she is one of the best teachers at this school. Her heart is always open to help you be the best you can be- and it disgusts me that she has to also pour out dollars upon dollars to purchase art supplies for her class.

When I graduate next year, I plan to head to college and major in Theatrical Direction and Design- thanks to the push and love from teachers like Linda Urban.

So many students at our school can only make it through the day knowing that after class they can find refuge and happiness in Chorus, in the Drama Club, or in Art Club. Art changes lives. Art is the best way to communicate and without art we would have nothing. A high school education is pointless without arts education.

By cutting back the roles of Linda Urban, Celine Soucy, and the arts at Whittier Tech, you are cutting out the heart and soul of our school. There will be no more beautiful art on the walls, no more music floating down the hall. Students that are depressed and anxious will lose their chance to express themselves and reason to continue trying. Arts saves lives.

This slash of our livelihoods is nothing but 100% personal. To me. To my friends. To the lives of two teachers that do nothing but love and support and care and create.

Please take a moment to listen. To consider what I’ve said- what all of us have said.

I am hurt.       We are hurt.

Today: Zach is counting on you

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