The Importance of Photography

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Earlier in the month we were told to fill out a sheet of what classes we wanted to take next year. We were given a list of classes that were still going to be “around” in the future, and we were expected to point and choose without thinking. This year I am currently taking beginner’s photography, and I find that it is an amazing and helpful course. Unfortunately due to budget cuts to the school, and the current “economic crisis” everyone is going on about, some of these one of a kind classes are being taken off the list of choices, and we will not be fully in control of how our schedule ends up next year. Not only will we not be able to choose all 7 of our courses in our following grade of high school, but many wonderful classes such as photography, drama, and video production, might be cut from out options!

Photography is an extraordinary class that combines the significance of art, history, and digital awareness into one. In the world of photography, we are aloud to take pictures of whatever we wish, and may compose any subject or idea that comes to mind, letting our artistic sides run wild. In the class we are advised to brush up on famous photographers and history for tests, and are expected to know of great works of art, so our reading and memorization are both tested as well. Finally, we are handed a camera, are given a computer to use, and a memory card to take care of, and are expected to learn for ourselves how to operate and take advantage of this creative and artistic technology on our own, so we can do so in the future. Photography not only teaches us, the students, creative skills and useful skills for the future, but it also could lead into a career in the performing arts, or as a professional artist or photographer.

The budget cuts happening in our school right now are completely uncalled for, not only have they taken us completely by surprise, but the wrong classes and subjects have been picked to get “laid off”. Courses like AP art 4 and weight training 2 are still around even though a low amount of students take them, but photography is being considered to be cut completely! It seems and feels unfair that there are four courses of art, and not even one course of photography, containing all the principles and lessons of art, is being kept. Classes like engineering drawing 3, and advanced auto shop honors are just extra classes that students don’t “choose” to take, but are shoved into if their choice is already full. The student’s voices have not been heard, and from our stand point, photography is one of the LAST things that should be cut from our curriculum.

Next year will be a rough transition, as it is. Unfortunately, the money crisis has gotten so out of hand, that it will be hard for the students to choose their classes next year. No student is guaranteed more than 6 classes, and even if you do get 6, they will almost definitely not be the ones of your choice. So, instead of letting the students decide, all that extra work is pressed onto teachers and counselors and the cycle continues. Since classes like photo are being cut, there are fewer places to put kids. Since there are fewer places to put kids, the open spaces will be immediately filled up, and there will be no extra space in any classes, rendering some of the students desires useless. Class sizes will expand, and will sometimes be filled with children who don’t even want to be there. Teachers will have less face time with kids, and the children will overall get a worse education.

One the balance has been broken between the various classes, change is certain to come, and that is not exactly something we want here in a top high school of the state and nation. Simple cuts like discontinuing photography and taking away other small privileges not only upset the student body, but cause a chain reaction that nobody knows where it ends up. We do not want to run the risk of lessening this schools greatness, and I hope that is clear when the decision is being made.





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