These essays are an exercise in the use of satire, hyperbole, and overstatement by developing writers.
They are intended to be humorous, not offensive. Read them closely; take them lightly.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Not Supporting the Arts

Dalton Bertolone

Cardinal Newman is famous for being a phenomenal sports school. We have many of the best sports teams, facilities, and equipment. Cardinal Newman’s football team made it to the state championships in 2007. They had the state record for the most consecutive wins, spanning over four years, in the 1970’s. We have a place for every sport to practice being either a room or field or court or diamond. We treat sports as if they’re all that matter. Cardinal Newman loves sports! The arts, on the other hand, don’t get as much love. The students and the school aren’t really big fans.

Cardinal Newman’s arts offerings are small. Cardinal Newman has a few music classes, and that’s about it. The guitar and band teacher, Mr. Acevedo, is a hard working and passionate teacher and strives to keep music in our school. He constantly works with his students to achieve greatness. On the Cardinal Newman YouTube page you can watch the students rocking out! There are three guitar classes and one band class at Cardinal Newman. They have their classes in a small classroom with a 6ft by 7ft stage in it. After placing the drums, speakers, microphones, guitars, piano and everything else they need, it gets pretty cramped. Every year, the school puts on a talent show called So Show Me. Mr. Acevedo works very hard every year to make this great and he did it again this year.

Newman’s students are allowed to participate in Ursuline’s fall play and spring musical. We don’t have a theater so the shows consist of using the cafeteria during the fall and a very small stage in the Ursuline gym in the spring. Yes, I said “cafeteria”. It’s true that the place where our school’s thespians are supposed to express themselves is the same place where a kid might have dropped his lunch and left it. They are expected to act, sing, and dance in a place that is not kept very clean. On the bright side, we do get to use the gym in the spring. It’s great if you don’t mind smelling sweat for five hours at a time for rehearsal. We do not have a theater because there is no money for a theater; but in the last five years Cardinal Newman built beach volleyball courts, tennis courts, lights for the football field, an artificial turf baseball diamond, a weight room, and a wrestling room. Although almost every one of these things already existed, they got improved or replaced. Cardinal Newman will build a theater; it’s on the list, right after a badminton arena and before the bobsledding track. Even though we don’t have a theater or a very good support system, we do have a lot of talent. There are many great singers, dancers and amazing actors that are at the school. They just don’t have as many opportunities to show it off as an athlete would. The students in the shows work so hard and in the end it’s an amazing success, but only a few people get to appreciate it.

The students have recently had the option of taking Choir (an elective put on by Ursuline) up at Ursuline. Who knew? The student’s didn’t know and I don’t think the staff did either. The number of Cardinal Newman students in this class is small because Cardinal Newman didn’t tell boys they had the option of taking this class as an elective. When Robert, a Cardinal Newman sophomore, transferred to Cardinal Newman this year, he had heard from someone that boys were allowed to take choir as an elective. Upon asking if they had this class, the counselor said, "oh no that class is up at Ursuline and it’s a girls only class.” Robert then told him that he knew for a fact another sophomore at Newman was already in the class. To be nice the counselor replied: “I don’t think so but I’ll double check.” After checking he came back saying, “Oh, wow your right, I guess that is an option.”  It seems Cardinal Newman would rather have their students lifting weights and becoming beefcakes, a more popular elective, than learning how to sing.

The community doesn’t really support the arts either. You hear about huge donations going to the school, but it’s never for the arts. Also, the school does very little to try to get kids involved in the arts. The school encourages everyone to go to the next game to cheer on their fellow students, but that doesn’t go the same for shows. Some teachers will give extra credit if you go to the fall play, but that’s usually the only reason a student would go. They sometimes announce when there’s a school show or a drama meeting, but there’s minimal advertisement. Yes, we do have a drama club. The Cardinal Newman Drama Club is new this year. They have meetings every once in a while and the number of students who attend depends on word of mouth since the school rarely announces if there is a meeting.

When it comes to the arts, you get no special treatment. There are no art rallies before big shows. There is little, “that’s okay I know you're busy,” sympathy from teachers. The Arts are a lot of hard work. It takes just as much time and dedication as any sport.  Students in the arts are considered below everyone else in Cardinal Newman’s mind because in a culture that favors sports over arts, the school gets more attention for all of their sports achievements. Cardinal Newman is a great school with great sports but also great artists. Sooner or later, things will change and Newman will start supporting the arts once they realize how many great artists they have and realize that a great school must have great art.

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Comments are encouraged. Each will be reviewed by Mr. Smith before posting. Any comments that are mean spirited or use inappropriate language toward the school or its students will not be posted. I especially welcome compliments, constructive criticism, questions, or general feedback on the essay.