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Cheryl Michon: Arts, music classes essential for NHS students

To the editor:

It’s been a rough time for Northampton school employees and students. Our superintendent is resigning at the end of the school year. The budget gap seems to be unbridgeable. Our beloved principal, Margaret Riddle, expressed her intention to resign at the end of the year. I am worried for my colleagues, concerned about my daughters’ course selections for their senior year at Northampton High School, and uncertain about my own job in the school system.

At the end of the day today, one of my daughters called me, inconsolable about the loss of many arts programs at the high school. Both of my daughters have taken courses in the arts every year at NHS. They periodically mention something that happened in their academic courses, yet daily speak of the art and music classes they take. These courses are uppermost in their minds and hearts because they love art and music, not to mention their absolutely fabulous teachers. Beau Flahive, especially, has captured the hearts of her students. She is so dedicated, so giving, so talented, that her students feel they are part of a “family.”

Many times you hear your doctor tell you that you must exercise your mind as well as your body to stay in good health. I believe you need to cultivate creativity, as well as academic proficiency, when teaching children. I believe they go hand in hand, and one helps to encourage the other. I believe music and art are the soul of humankind, and depriving our children of them depletes humanity.

I can’t say I know how to balance our budget, but I believe every effort should be made to keep these classes and their wonderful teachers, as they are as essential to our learning as any other academic subject.

Cheryl Michon


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