One lecture from my world civilization teacher changed my whole outlook on everything.
Now, all my life I've always liked being creative. Art class was fun; being able to color and paint without being in trouble was a dream. But never did I know that classes like these aren't only fun, but enrich our society and can save America from the troubles it's facing. So why then do school districts and the government cut art programs first?
This year I took a whole new direction with my learning experiences. Instead of taking mostly academic courses, I joined the Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) Academy at my school. My schedule flipped upside down. Now I have four theater-related classes, with the rest of my classes rotating around an artistic lifestyle.
True, it's fun, but I've also learned more about the past, present and future when it comes to the arts. If you look at the downfalls of civilizations and the dark spots of our past, you will find they are marked by a decline in arts. The Middle Ages, for instance, were noted as a time that there was no transfer of arts. They didn't create art or look at art. Only when arts started to blossom again did the world rebound.
The most obvious and marked examples of the effects of art are with the Roman Empire. This empire was huge, spanning most of Europe. During the great times it had one important thing -- art. Architecture, acting, painting, drawing, they were all big.
With the decline and fall of Rome, people started putting their money in the wrong places. The arts basically disappeared and all the Romans liked was watching gladiator fights, which included brutally killing animals, feeding prisoners to lions, and watching people fight to the death. This was a bloody and gory "sport." The winners were prized and rich. People loved them.
"I think people misplace priorities (nowadays) in society. We think sports and entertainment are more important than the arts, which inspire," says my teacher Craig "CK" Hansen, who teaches world civilizations and U.S. history.
I find it interesting that Hansen teaches art students and supports the arts considering he was a football and a basketball coach, especially when he says that the first programs schools should cut are sports.
"Sports have their place but you can find sports in recreational programs," Hansen explains. "I think teens need to be creative, not entertained."
I believe you can see the future of America by looking at a school. The popular people are always the jocks. It's funny that their seasons are about two and a half months long and yet they get all this attention and praise for the whole year. Their success is found in scores and beating other people. Anyone can kick a ball, but not anyone can play an instrument, or sing, or draw, paint or sculpt, or act.
A theater cast may practice together for only two or three months, and their show may run only one or two weeks, but their impressions last a lifetime. Success is not found in scores but in touching lives of the cast, crew and audience. Do you think people will really care about the scores and players of sports teams in the future? I don't. A show's impression lasts a lifetime. I can't recall the first time I saw a sport. Heck, I just loved the Super Bowl because I'd get yummy food. But I can recall the first time I saw a live show. How I felt and what I thought.
It really makes me sad to think that many students miss out on the arts. They look at arts classes as either an easy "A," or just full of weirdos and lame people.
I suggest that teens put the ball down for once and pick up some clay. Take an art class. Theater, choir, band, orchestra, painting, drawing, pottery -- there is just so much to pick from. And maybe, someday, it will change your life, and you will change others.
Sara Bowker is a sophomore at Northridge High. E-mail her at email@example.com.