I’m a very loud person, I’ll be the first to admit it. I could blame it on the Italian in me, but the real reason I’m so loud is because I want to be heard, and usually I am. So why should I be any different for my education?
My name is Tess, I’m 16 years old and am currently entering my junior year at New Milford High School in New Milford, CT. I am the type of teenager that seems harder and harder to come by–the kind that actually enjoys school and wants to learn. With a schedule packed with honors classes and a GPA that easily places me on roll, it would seem like the education system wouldn’t be one I’d want to change.
Attempting to change something that is currently helping me is a risky decision. But the reason I’m looking to make a change is because even though I might be excelling in my classes, they’re not the classes I need to be taking in order to prepare myself for my future. I’m being forced to take classes that prepare myself for the Board of Education’s future for me.
I’m planning on pursuing a degree in Arts Administration in college. To put it simply, business for the arts, specifically, theatre. All throughout high school, guidance counselors stress the importance of taking classes that will help you be more prepared in college. That’s a little hard to do when your school offers two Theatre classes, History of American Musical Theatre and Drama Workshop. Two classes might seem like a lot to some people, but compared to the fifteen Fine Arts classes, eighteen Business classes, ten Tech-Education classes and nine Health classes, it’s inequitable. Why should my school prepare students to go into practically every other professional field besides theatre? And yes, we can do the musical or join the drama club, but that doesn’t show up on our transcript. Ceramics does. Pre-Calculus does. Classes that hold no real relevance to our intended future do instead.
How am I supposed to prepare for the college without a strong base in what I’ll be studying? It should be my school district’s responsibility to provide students with equal education opportunities, so why aren’t they doing so? I know I’m not alone in asking questions as to how we, as the students, can change this. The letter I wrote to the Board of Education elicited no response, which begs the question–what will we have to do to make our Student Voices’ be heard?
About the Author: Tess Harkin attends New Milford High School in New Milford, CT as a junior. She is actively involved in the school and community as a student leader. Tess is a HOBY alumni and her interests lie in theatre, writing, and making crepes. You can find her on Twitter at @Tess_Harkin or at operation-outstanding.blogspot.com.