Op-Ed: Require Academy Awards Attendance

Gator file photo.

For the Creative Arts Department, this year has been a smashing success, hosting this year’s annual SISAL Awards competition and REJOICE GospelFest, while also producing fabulous plays, musicals, and concerts.

Now, as the end of the year is approaching, this can only mean one thing—the Academy Awards. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to host along with Cara Rittner ’19. Unfortiunately, this remains the only awards event for the arts—and attendance isn’t required for students.

As a member of the Creative Arts Diploma Program and an active participant in the arts here, I feel the need to question this policy. Students are required to attend fall, winter, and spring sports award ceremonies, as well as the year-end athletic assembly tonight. It just doesn’t seem fair, or right.

Surely, the arts are at least as important as sports. Not all of our students are artists, but the call to require all students to attend an athletic assembly, and not an arts assembly, in the very least, smacks of perceived bias.

My stance may cause disagreement, and I know that I can’t just express my views and assume that the policy will automatically change. However, to encourage change, I want to share what Creative Arts Department Chair Bill Jacob recently told me.

“I think that it’s a shame when we give an awards show and people don’t come to it, especially when we want to give them a prize,”  Jacob said. “I think that the school values both arts and athletics, but I can see how arts participants can feel that not having both be required would be unfair.”

If you think about it, it’s really a simple change that can be made. Why not just have the Academy Awards take place after lunch on Wednesday and extend into the rest of the school day? After all, that is what happened with the Spring Athletic Awards.

I’m certain that the administration doesn’t mean to foster disparity. However, I’m suggesting that school leaders consider changing things up for next year. Brimmer has always been a supportive, engaging community. Making this decision would add to our community’s strength and enforce the support that we have always shown for each other.

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