It’s no secret that many high schools have been cutting art programs to save money. But as one local teacher explains, allowing students to explore their creative sides is an essential part of their education.
“We like to escape from reality at times and that’s what theatre allows us to have,” Horseheads English teacher Michael Hamula said.
Hamula is also the advisor for the Horseheads Greenroom Players, the high school’s extracurricular drama program.
“We just did this past fall “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” November and we have a variety show coming up the first Saturday in January when we get back to school and a big spring musical is going to be “The Adams Family,”” Hamula said.
Though more focus is being put on science and technology in many high school classrooms, Hamula said it’s important to nurture student’s creative abilities as well.
“You know it’s the arts that give us not only the music we listen to in the car on our way home but the style of our furniture, the style of our clothes, all of those things,” he said. ” And they’re important.”
The Horseheads School District recognizes that, they’ve been strong supporters of the arts for years. And their Horseheads 2030 plan will continue to emphasize the importance of the arts in the future.
“There’s always been a great deal of support, in fact the superintendent last year filled in at the last minute in a part in the show playing Ed Sullivan for us,” Hamula said. “He is a really big supporter of the arts here at Horseheads, you know we appreciate that coming from the top down that we do get the support that we need.”
Even if you ‘re not quite comfortable performing on stage, there are still ways to get involved in a production. Students are needed to run tech, design sets, do makeup and play music in the pit. Regardless of what students decide to take part in, Hamula said he’s yet to see someone regret trying something new.
“I haven’t had a student yet who I’ve gotten to maybe come from lacrosse to a play and when they’re done wish that they had done it since freshman year and they’re amazed at how much work it really is,” he said. “They all think it’s just you know something you can do overnight and they realize it’s not, you know, it’s a lot of hard work.”
Hard work…that pays off.
“Life without the arts would be pretty bland,” Hamula said. “We need the arts to keep us alive to keep us inspired to keep us thinking to keep us happy or sometimes cathartic and make us sad you know just bring out the emotions that we need to get through the day.”