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Gala brings arts to life

In a 1989 film that didn’t get nearly the critical acclaim it deserved, Robin Williams, playing Professor John Keating, delivered one of the most memorable film tributes to the arts.

“Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life,” Williams, as Keating, said in “Dead Poets Society.” “But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

All these years later, the arts are still often overlooked in public schools in favor of the more academic subjects. Arts programs in Suffolk are strong, but they could always use some extra help.

The Suffolk Education Foundation has provided a boost for the arts in recent years with its annual gala in celebration of the arts. This year’s event will take place on Feb. 22, and tickets will be on sale through the day of the event and at the door for $35.

Teachers and class groups that participate in the program in some way, whether by performing or having visual art on display, benefit by getting a direct cut of the proceeds. Every school has the opportunity to participate.

Suffolk Education Foundation President Patrick Belcher said the gala is an important avenue to helping the arts in Suffolk Public Schools get funded.

“Unfortunately, arts aren’t overly funded, and it’s nice that we can spotlight this and allow the community to directly support the schools,” he said.

Belcher continued by echoing “Dead Poets Society”: “Math and science are what we do to make a living, and arts and culture is what we live for. It’s what gives beauty to everything we do. Science, math and reading are important and fundamental, but the arts and music is what allows us to enjoy every day.”

With that in mind, we hope you’ll consider supporting the gala in some way. Visit www.suffolkeducationfoundation.org for tickets.