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A missed chance to support the arts

To the editor:

The Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts recently hosted a showcase for the three high school theater arts programs in Suffolk. All three high schools presented their district festival one-act plays, all of which were well-acted and great examples of the fantastic work being done by the three directors in Suffolk Public Schools.

I was appalled that not a single member of our School Board or any member of any school’s administration was in attendance. The SCCA director, Mr. Paul Lasakow, in his curtain speech prior to the performances, recognized all members of the school superintendent’s office — Dr. Milton Liverman, Dr. Lynn Cross, Mr. Kevin Alston, and Dr. Deran Whitney — as well as the principals from each building, asking them to stand in acknowledgement. As each name was called, silence fell across the small house, as no one stood to be recognized.

While I understand that all of the above, as well as members of the School Board, have incredibly busy schedules, this performance was a unique opportunity to show their support not only to the students and the directors, but also to the community at large.

The directors and students at each school work hard each year to put together quality productions, often with little money or support. It is a shame that Suffolk Public Schools, with its claim of superior education for all, cannot find time to support these students in a unique opportunity.

Are the staff members sending a message that the arts are not important? Is this a message that they really want to send? They are leaders in our community, and as leaders, they need to lead by example.

Support all aspects of our schools equally, and your community, teachers and students will follow.