Regarding the editorial “Reject new arts magnets,” as I begin my 20th year at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, I continue to be confused by the negative attitude from The Post toward Dreyfoos and Bak Middle School of the Arts — especially with the continued myth that our students would be great anywhere.
Dreyfoos is the place where a student who has a dream to be in the arts can see if that possibility can come true. It is the act of focusing on the arts that creates an atmosphere of passion, expectation, exploration, great discipline and family. It’s time to stop referring to Dreyfoos as “private.” Dreyfoos, Bak and other schools in Palm Beach County that have moved students in a fundamental way have teachers who care about what they teach. A student who comes to understand that dance is an art form that speaks through movement but can only do so after a great amount of hard work and passion learns that for life, and it infects everything the student does, including math and science.
The realities and costs must be weighed, and The Post is right to be concerned about the quality of education throughout Palm Beach County, as am I. However, rather than “Reject new arts magnet,” how about finding a way to bring the passion of Dreyfoos and Bak to all of our students? Create more foundations similar to the ones connected to our arts schools, so that more students can get a shot at their dreams.
My opinion is that there should be 10 Dreyfooses and 20 Baks, but I live in a world where dreams can come true with commitment, passion, work and a little luck. I want Palm Beach county students to learn in a world of creativity and passion. The arts are just the ticket.
North Palm Beach
Poverty is barrier to attending programs
In response to the editorial “Reject new arts magnets,” as the art teacher at Egret Lake Elementary for the past 18 years I have seen firsthand the need for additional magnet schools in Palm Beach County.
At Egret Lake, 84 percent of our students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Most of our working parents work long hours or multiple jobs. Students in tutoring are provided with bus transportation but not students involved in a club. To be involved in a club means that your parent has to pick you up or you are able to walk home. Therefore, most students are not able to be part of an after-school enrichment activity.
Our students do not have the financial resources to join a dance, music, art, theater or sports program. Most do not apply to Bak Middle School in fifth grade because they know that they are competing for maybe one of 50 seats per discipline. Our extremely large district needs to provide more magnets in order to provide more students the same opportunity of a well-rounded education that affluent parents are able to provide for their children.
Arts programs provide children with discipline and the ability to think outside of the box. Developing the creativity found within each child will help them reach their potential.
Editor’s note: On Wednesday, the Palm Beach County School Board expressed interest in creating south-county arts magnet programs but did not agree on where the programs might be or how they might be paid for.
G-Star offers unique film education
I read your editorial “Reject new arts magnets” with interest. You are correct that Dreyfoos and Bak are excellent art schools. However, in light of your comment that charter schools in that niche lack prestige, I’d like to offer the following:
G-Star School of the Arts for Film, Animation and Performing Arts, is a public charter high school that owns and operates a commercial motion picture studio, the G-Star Studios, in Palm Springs. We’ve had many celebrities and big productions working with our students on the sets of feature films, national commercials, music videos and rehearsals. G-Star was named “The Number One High School for Film in the World” by the Raindance Film Festival in London, Europe’s largest independent film festival.
Over the last four years, 94 percent of our students have gone onto college. We are the only one of two charter high schools in the state to have an International Baccalaureate program. One of our graduates received $780,000 in scholarship acceptances to 13 universities. Still another, who is going into the 11th grade, has been interning at the White House this summer with the chief of staff and the press secretary.
We have no auditions and take our students in the order they apply. Fifty percent of our students are on free and reduced-price lunch status. Our African-American and Hispanic students have a 100 percent graduation rate. Prestige is in the eyes of the parents. I hope this bit of information will elevate G-Star somewhat in their eyes.
West Palm Beach
Editor’s note: Greg Hauptner is founder and CEO of G-Star School of the Arts.
Conflict in Syria requires food not guns
Regarding the calls for greater U.S. intervention in Syria, instead of fanning the flames of war with weapons and our military support of a proxy war, the only way to make friends in this fight is to send not bullets but butter, to everyone, regardless of which side they are on.
No matter which side wins, it will just end up slaughtering the opposition, and we can never sanction the outcome. Both sides are starving for food and supplies. Instead of choosing sides, let’s support both sides with food and humanitarian supplies, so they can take time to consider peace instead of annihilation.
Palm Beach Shores
Frank dead-on with flood of news
I read with great interest Frank Cerabino’s column “Weiner mixed up with news of George baby.” Nothing is funnier than ridiculous facts.
Frank pointed out that we have again been fed more diversions to take our eyes off the ball. Detroit is imploding along with Egypt, our economy is on stall and ready to fall, issues like “stand your ground” are doing just that. What have we heard and read about? Anthony Weiner is weird, but still wants to be mayor and has a large following, mostly on Facebook, and the royal baby.
I am very happy for the British, and like any large family they are in rapture. But I’m an American and aware of our serious present-day challenges. Must I be bombarded by news of Mr. Weiner and the new royal baby? Go, Frank!
Post needs to check its math
We criticize kids coming out of high school for their inability to even read a newspaper, yet judging by a recent edition there is evidence the folks at The Post need to go back to math class.
On an inside page there was a nice chart showing the proposed tax rates and percentage changes year over year in Palm Beach County. For West Palm Beach DDA: last year $1, this year $2, percentage change 50 percent. Really? From a major newspaper we should expect accuracy.
Palm Beach Gardens
Sign of times or false fear?
I read with great care about the young black man, Frank Cunningham, and I commend his parents for raising such a fine young man (“Young black men say ‘paranoia’ marks lives.”) It is terrible that he, and others, have to live in such fear.
But I am a white widow in her 80s who lives alone, and I am ashamed to say that I, too, “clutch my purse” when I am in the vicinity of a young black man. I went to a large high school that was about 30 percent black, and we all seemed to get along. When did this change come to me? We are living in very violent times and we are inundated with the media telling us about all of the crime, and they often seem to stress the race of these young people. Am I so wrong to live in fear also?
But I do believe that education and parental guidance are the only way to go, not burning and looting and demonstrating. Take the legal way. Change the laws. And then I hope that I do not have to “clutch my purse.”
MARY JO BROWN
West Palm Beach