PERSPECTIVES: On the stage but not on the transcript?

Holly Dayton

By Holly Dayton ’13, Lens Section Editor

If you participate in CCDS sports, enriching our school’s teams on the fields or the courts, that participation is recognized with commensurate sports credit. If a student plays enough school sports, they actually never need to take a PE class or summer gym—their sports credit is complete. The argument I make is: why cannot arts credits be the same?

I am regularly on our stage in rehearsals and for performances. Like those that participate in sports, I choose to spend part of my afternoon and spend it towards making a school team ready to perform. But as this time, my effort and participation are not acknowledged by the school with arts credit. The change I call for is not massive or revolutionary, but would be greatly appreciated by those who it would affect.

An argument I have heard many times for giving sports credit to those who play on school teams is that to do so encourages student participation which would otherwise be lacking. That argument perfectly supports the case for arts credit for theater performance—the theater department needs the numbers as much as the athletic department. In the past three years, the musical has needed to use middle school or lower school students every single year to flesh out an insufficient cast of high school thespians. The winter musical and fall play want more students as much as the sports teams, so the argument for an equal incentive in entirely logical.

Awarding arts credit to those that participate in the musical would perhaps

draw from those who take arts classes during school. But if it the goal is that students enjoy an artistic experience in high school, is this a problem? The students are appreciating the arts one way or another.

This change would be so very convenient for and appreciated by the theater students. Particularly as the date of the performance nears, theater kids are overwhelmed with the combination of schoolwork and rehearsal. If these students did not have to take an arts class to fill their credit requirement, they would have a free bell instead. Even just fifty minutes more of free time during the school day would massively reduce stress for those CCDS student thespians.

Ever since CCDS theater stopped competing in the Cappies competition for Cincinnati high school theater, our performances have tried to appeal more and more to the CCDS community. Since the theater department is now only for the pleasure of the school, my hope is that the school can give back to the theater students by giving them equal treatment with the athletes and awarding them arts credit for their participation.