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Letter to the editor: Blackhawk Middle School students learn more than showbiz

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 12:01 am
Blackhawk Middle School students, under the direction of Christopher Murphy, recently performed the musical, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”The show was truly outstanding. However, the performance represented more than just some students singing, dancing and acting.

The drama department at Blackhawk teaches lessons that cannot be tested on any standardized test. These are the same lessons colleges and future employers desire and require in their students and employees.

My son learned to be a risk-taker when auditioning for a part. He learned he must be on time and deeply committed each and every rehearsal. He learned to meet deadlines.

He learned to work with a variety of students in a variety of situations – painting sets, learning choreography, reading music, learning lines or helping piece together the stage.

He learned to accept and learn from constructive criticism. He learned how it feels to work hard for something and earn the reward of respect and admiration from his community. Colleges need students capable of demonstrating these lessons.

Employers desire these same skills and characteristics in their employees. In addition, my child developed friendships and had a great time in the process.

These are all incredibly important life skills that will prepare him to be successful in both his college days and his career – and none of that can be shown by filling in an oval on a standardized test form.

In addition, my child learned other valuable lessons. Local businesses, including Georgetown Subway, A Party Apart, Mobile Medical Maintenance, Albrights Meats and Deli, Fort Wayne Family Eyecare and Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling, supported the show and support his public education in Fort Wayne Community Schools.

He learned that when a business community supports a positive program that the entire community benefits. My son saw countless parents, friends of the director and former students volunteer their time to make the production a success. He witnessed citizenship through the volunteering efforts of others.

Today, public schools are losing students and the state education dollars that accompany them to private, parochial and charter schools that offer special programs or that have a higher “grade” according to the Indiana Department of Education. Blackhawk Middle School’s drama department has an outstanding program and its director, Murphy, is preparing my son to be a future community leader empowered with skills my child will need to be successful in his college and career endeavors.

I would like to see a test that can truly measure that. Bravo, Blackhawk Middle School – the school, director, students, parents and community have earned an A-plus in my grade book!

Shawn Eckelbarger



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