Opinion: We should support our arts programs

Published 3:41 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks used a giant pair of scissors to cut the blue ribbon at the Oak Mountain High School Performing Arts center during its grand opening—there was only one problem, the scissors wouldn’t cut through the ribbon.

After struggling for just a moment, the scissors finally did their job and cut through the ribbon to an eruption of cheers from the crowd of local students and parents who came to celebrate and support the newest educational enhancement at Oak Mountain High School.

The $7.5 million Oak Mountain High School Performing Arts Center is finally complete and ready for the band and choir to take advantage of after nearly 17 months of construction.

The new center marks not only the first expansion to the OMHS campus since 2007, but also represents the SCS Board of Education’s investment and support of fine arts education.

Extra attention is typically paid to enhancing sports facilities and supporting the football team, so it is good to see a school and BOE that is interested in furthering the opportunities of choir and band students to excel in their fields.

The new band room will allow the entirety of the Spirit of Cahaba Marching Band to perform together in an auditorium and features a lot of space for storage of instruments. The band room was even named the Jim Duren Band Room—honoring the legacy of the school’s first band director who passed away from COVID-19 complications in 2020.

As Shelby County continues to grow, it would be good to continue to see more investments and upgrades to the fine arts programs in its schools. Supporting these programs sends a clear message that there are other opportunities and ways to make your voice heard and to showcase your talent than pure athleticism or academics. These kids work just as hard as everyone else, it’s time that they be rewarded and supported so that we can see how far they can go.