FREE SPEECH ZONE | Is it finally curtains for The Fine Arts?


You’d think that with TV shows like Glee, and American Idol students in public high schools would be more apt to pursue music and arts, and maybe they do, but for Roosevelt High School that couldn’t be more wrong. Roosevelt High School is an accepting melting pot of cultural diversity, but the arts programs available are neglected by both students and staff.

I asked around the Fine arts department in Roosevelt and found out that Roosevelt has almost no funding for the music department, and everything that they do have was either donated or bought through grants.

I also went to South High School, a school in the same district as Roosevelt, they have much more funding, has booster clubs, four choirs, and a band with many more students and a lot better instruments. Now what I don’t understand is how two schools in the same district can have such vast differences in their arts programs? That is, until I looked at the people who were in attendance at those schools. South’s student base are the arts kids, the ones who flock to South because of its already stellar reputation in the Arts, while Roosevelt on the other hand is left with the handful of students who are arts bound and a few others who have the passion and the confidence to perform. Roosevelt comes with a bad connotation because of the three shootings, and the two alleged cases of child abuse, which makes parents and other students transfer over to South.

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A vast contrast to the lack of arts in Roosevelt is the “Mosaic,” which is a huge festival that revolves around the arts. At Mosaic students are allowed to audition for a “talent show” and say or do whatever arts based thing there hearts desire. I went to watch. Almost all the students there that sang were not in the schools choir or any of the other performance based arts classes and when asked to join they refused because of their reputation, but yet got up on stage and performed to almost the entire student population.

The Arts classes at Roosevelt on the other hand are over populated with students who draw and paint. A few students like Leilani Mendoza and Rodrigo Juarez use their arts to try to better not only the school but the community. Also it seems to me that Art is more acceptable than Music and Drama even though everyone listens to music and watches movies.

I asked a few of Roosevelt’s alumni about their choirs and bands and heard this: Jennifer (Baker) Peterson said “The choir my senior year had about eight people and they didn’t perform, and I wasn’t in the band and didn’t know anyone who was.” And Danielle Dunn said: “This years choir was better than my senior choir, and I thought we were good.” She attended this years choir concert. These two things led me to believe that the popularity of the arts fluctuates over the years, but why is the popularity now dwindling as the popularity of the music based TV shows and movies are growing.

So in retrospect the Fine Arts departments between Roosevelt and South are dependant on the funding of both their programs and Roosevelt will finally shine if the bad connotation dies and Roosevelt’s fine arts department gains popularity. But is it a battle over funding and students or a battle of the reputations of the schools.