Letter to the Editor: Parent Thanks Ferndale Schools for Children's Interest in Arts
Linda Jackson writes into Ferndale Patch to discuss the arts and the Ferndale School District.
I will never forget one crisp November evening several years ago.
My two girls and I arrived home from shopping around 7 p.m. We got out of the car and started to unpack the bags from the trunk when I heard music coming from behind our house. I looked around and my girls, who were about 6 and 3 years old at the time, were gone.
I looked closer and found them standing at our backyard fence, which faces the Ferndale High School football scoreboard. Their fists were clenched to the fence. They were mesmerized. They were watching the Ferndale Golden Eagles Marching Band march around the track and they were listening to them play a unique and upbeat version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The band was practicing for the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade.
I had an idea that my girls had an appreciation for the arts, but on that day I had no inkling at all as to how much of an appreciation Ferndale Schools has for the arts or how much pride they have in sharing the arts with our children.
My husband and I did not learn to play instruments as kids. We cannot pretend to be able to carry a tune! We do not know how to read music. We can’t even draw stick figures well! Artistic, we are not.
We are, however, the kind of parents that believe in supporting our children in any endeavor they choose - as long as it contributes to society and doesn’t take away from it! So when Haley entered fourth grade she was old enough to play an instrument. Her quandary was exciting! Would she choose the clarinet or the saxophone? What about the viola or cello? Orchestra in the fourth grade? In a public school district? That doesn’t happen often! Ultimately she chose to play the flute. She was also finally old enough to join show choir.
At Ferndale High School the drama teacher will often reach out to the elementary students once a year and hold auditions for a handful of chorus parts in the FHS spring musical. Later the same year Haley decided to audition. She was excited and nervous! She was cast in the FHS spring musical Anything Goes. The elementary students love being in the spring musical and the high school students love to mentor the younger students.
Looking back, that was quite an exciting year for our oldest daughter. Full of opportunity, opened doors and plenty of growth. She experienced show choir, band and stage productions all in one year! It sure did set a foundation for her.
She is in ninth grade at FHS now. She hasn’t made all of the musicals she tried out for over the years, but the auditioning process itself is a worthwhile experience. She has flourished in many ways. This year she is in the pit orchestra for the spring musical Oklahoma. She now plays three musical instruments. She proudly marches with the award winning Ferndale Golden Eagles Marching Band.
No joke, marching band should be considered a sport! She also sings at FHS with the Tuesday Night Singers. Through the years, all of this artistry has been nurtured and developed by the wonderful and dedicated staff at Ferndale Schools.
My youngest daughter is in sixth grade this year. She is just as immersed in the arts as her big sister. She has her own unique set of talents that are being nurtured and developed within the Ferndale School District. I look forward to watching her musicianship, confidence and stage presence evolve.
A friend of mine asked a question regarding my daughters’ gifts a while ago that has stuck with me. She said: “Who would have known?”
My answer to her is: Without Ferndale Schools, likely nobody.
Linda Jackson is a Occupational Therapy Practitioner with two daughters in the Ferndale School District.
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