By Matthew Sheets '19
While the rest of the student body packs up its sports bags, I sit outside the US Music Room, my singing rehearsal set to begin four minutes later. I check my OnCampus account and decide to use these paltry minutes to begin working on my English essay. A few crummy sentences later, I look at the time--5:30.
I quickly close my computer and head into rehearsal. Thirty minutes later I leave, walk up the stairs, and grab dinner before attending my second rehearsal of the night, this one for the Upper School Play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Seated with my fellow cast-members, I look around and sigh. Someone complains about her math grade. Another mentions his difficult Voyageur practice. By the time most students get to after-school arts commitments, they are physically and mentally exhausted. With sports practices occupying most of the afternoon, students who take part in arts commitments are left with little time for their schoolwork.
The difficulty of getting homework done is compounded for students who also take part in an arts elective, Chorale, or both; those who wish to participate in such activities are faced with the difficult decision between sleep, studying, and the arts. While some teachers try to accommodate students during tech-week or on concert nights, many are unwilling to grant the necessary extensions or homework breaks that make participation in the arts manageable. “Sometimes I feel like I’m being targeted for what I like to do,” said one STA Sophomore. Why are we as a community so willing to allow students to miss class and move tests for athletic endeavors, while at the same time we leave our artistically-inclined students high and dry?
Regarding athletics, those who participate extensively in the arts have two choices: sports cut, or no sleep. Says NCS junior Isabella Houle, “As long as you have a sports cut, you’re fine.” Unfortunately, most students do not have a cut as an option. NCS junior Zoé Contreras-Villalta described her outlook on sports cuts; “It depends on the situation. Cuts make scheduling easier, but I don’t want to give up sports.” It’s a tough call to make, and the dilemma causes many people to drop something, whether it be the arts or their GPAs. “I know some people who have switched out of Cross Country because they want to do the Play, and it sucks that we have to make that kind of sacrifice,” continued Zoé.
In an ideal world, we would have enough time to participate in whatever we wanted. However, the judgement calls and sacrifices that go into decisions surrounding the arts are some of the most significant of the high school experience. And while we can’t ask for more than twenty-four hours in a day, those who participate in STA-NCS arts can always ask for more extensions and delayed tests.