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With budget woes of school districts splattered on the front page of newspapers, it’s refreshing to see local districts holding on to programs in the arts.

There have been layoffs, program cuts and little left in the line items for supplies. But we’re happy to see that today’s newspaper is chock full of stories of programs that are still hanging on and still having an impact on students.

Woodburn High School, particularly Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy, has done a fabulous job of keeping students engaged through art programs. Even the challenging International Baccalaureate program has a theater and art class. And the work coming out of these programs is astounding. Every year, Woodburn takes home dozens of awards from the Willamette Valley Scholastic Art Awards. And this year is no exception. With more than 50 students receiving accolades, the art program must be doing something right.

The arts impact the community as a whole, too. Everyone can celebrate and be engaged with the arts by attending an upcoming musical or play, as both Woodburn and North Marion high schools offer drama to students.

And Kennedy High School’s music program is bouncing back, slowly but surely, after it was axed from the program. School officials saw the hole missing when the band program was cut, and it was quickly reinstated, targeting students who, until now, likely didn’t look forward to school, but now have something to motivate them.

Yes, we must never lose sight of the important of the core academic programs. Athletics are also important to students’ engagement and health. But the arts provide something for the creative part of the brain that kids can’t get elsewhere. It’s the one area where being “right”?is subjective, where expressing oneself isn’t met with criticism. There are different programs for different kids and we’re glad to see there are kids who still get a thrill from finding their creative side.

We hope the schools — and local communities —continue to support these programs, because every child needs to be engaged and every child’s school day needs to have a creative side.

Contract Publishing

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