Column: Fine arts: Valuable, or a waste of time?

Seamus Keegan

I took Culinary Arts last semester. A lot of students in that class had no real interest in cooking. Students were constantly on their phones, and not paying attention to the chef’s instructions. She expected all students to invest themselves in the class and do what was asked of them. 

One day, she had enough. She decided to speak only to the students willing to listen, and told them what we were going to do that day. She let the kids who chose to be on their phones do that. The rest of us did the assignment, and at the end of the hour she told the other students that they would be receiving zeros because they hadn’t participated. If the kids taking the class had actually wanted to be there, none of that would have happened.

If you want to graduate from MHS with a Core 40 or Technical Honors diploma, you must take five credits of language and/or fine arts. Because those classes are required, some kids take them just for the credit, not because they actually enjoy the class.

Unfortunately, an enjoyable class such as culinary arts or technical theatre can often be ruined by other students who are less enthused about the course. Because MHS requires students to take one of these classes, a decent portion of the student population do not really want to be there. Kids goof off with friends, choose not to participate in activities and distract the class from their work.

Munster should make an art credit optional. Let the students who are interested in the class take it, and students who don’t want to take it don’t have to. This way, students can take the class with other kids who want to be there, providing a more enjoyable experience for both students and teachers. In addition, Munster should offer more classes directed at the arts. We are constantly adding business classes to our curriculum, but these classes don’t offer kids the creative focus they need. Fine arts classes are just as important if not more important than academic classes, and we should offer more of them and encourage kids to be creative.