Featured in the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier Newspaper
There is something that comes around every fall and spring that re-affirms why the arts are so important to high schools across this state; Thornton Academy’s fall play and spring musical.
I look forward to this every year while holding my breath to see if the next crop of young aspiring actors and actresses will delight as much as the previous group. They never seem to disappoint and each performance is just as good as the last if not better.
This year TA Players performed “The Crucible,” based on the book of the same name whose core themes center on extreme group think mentality and our culture for community gossip. This is the same book I read back in Mrs. Lasante’s English class while at Thornton Academy. It’s nice to see students so passionate about the work they do. You can tell that many of the actors up on that stage don’t consider it work. It comes as natural to them as Stephen King to writing.
While the arts are just one small sliver to the educational budgetary pie, this play reminded me how important it is for us to put educating our youth first. They are the future. The next generation of leaders, doctors, plumbers, teachers, electricians and yes, even actors. Students must be given multiple pathways to reach their fullest potential. I know if I didn’t have the opportunity to have TATV Channel 3, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. Not everyone is so lucky to not only find their niche early on but also to have an appropriate environment to foster solid skill sets in preparation for job training or college. While a large part of this actually has more to do with the commitment of the board of trustees to provide a quality education, we need to ensure the public side of this educational partnership meets that end of the deal.
There are talks of more cuts to education at the state level, which concerns me given how much the previous cuts affected our local tax rate and school budgets negatively. We the people said the state share of education funding should be 55 percent. We the people should dictate public policy and not have political insiders go against our wishes. I will not vote for a budget that makes significant cuts to education. Some would call that uncompromising; I call that fighting to invest in the future our state economy.
I look forward to TA’s rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, “Cats,” in the spring. Good luck to all students involved.
Justin Chenette is the state representative for district 134 in Saco. You can get legislative updates about the work out of the 126th Legislature at Facebook.com/ justinforsaco, Twitter.com/justinchenette, and at www.justinchenette.com.
Beyond the Headlines
Weekly Column featured in The Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier Newspaper by Rep. Justin Chenette of Saco