I’m a 1989 graduate of Stillwater High School. After SHS, I attended Macalester College and the University of Texas School of Law, and have been a practicing lawyer and a tenured law professor, along with producing a nationally syndicated radio show and owning a family music record label.
In my academic career, my time in Stillwater’s music program ranks at the top — there are no more than two or three classes that have been more important to me than Jim Hainlen’s orchestra program. Orchestra taught me to think critically, to listen to others, to appreciate beauty in all its forms and to work hard towards a common goal.
I understand that the music programs are potential targets in budget discussions. Such cuts must be tempting; to many, I’m sure music and arts more generally look like luxuries. They are not. The arts help develop those analytic and creative thinking skills that, for myriad reasons, sometimes get missed in other disciplines.
I know there are countless pressures and demands in the budgeting process. Don’t let the arts be seen as an easy target. They’re too important.