The Value of Fine Arts at ISM

Article by Liz Sunga

ISM is known to have one of the richest selections of courses available to high school students in the entire country. Among many of these rigorous academic courses are also the more underrated Fine Arts classes. In the IB, there is a choice to make between one of these Fine Arts classes and a study hall. Among ISM students who choose to take such classes, some believe that the value the Fine Arts classes have, as well as the ability to express yourself artistically and creatively, is much greater than the extra time a study hall gives you, and you learn important life lessons from these classes.

Fine Arts is a fundamental part of our school’s curriculum and is taken by many students in ISM. Offering a variety of music classes, such as show choir, or band, dance classes, such as beginners dance and Dance Co. in addition to film and drama classes, this program definitely makes for quite a diverse group of Fine Arts students.

Lauren Z. is a sophomore currently taking band. She thinks it’s a very fun class to take and is a break from all the academics. She says that she always looks forward to band “because it allows me to express myself in ways that other classes don’t.”

Ms. Yek, the high school dance teacher, thinks that performance classes definitely teach students a valuable lesson in stepping out of their comfort zone and showcasing their talents. She believes that “students learn to become more confident to present themselves in a big audience. [It helps] develop their self-esteem.”

Fine Arts is not only for performing; there are many uses for the skills utilized in these classes in the real world. Ms. Mons, the high school drama teacher, says that she even “had a graduate IB Drama student taking up a medical degree, calling [her], telling [her] that they’ve been able to use the skills they learn in class in communicating with their patients.”

Unfortunately, as high school becomes more and more demanding, many students may opt out of the classes, thinking they just don’t have enough time to accommodate them anymore. For some students, taking up a Fine Arts class actually improves their performance is their academics.

Annika A. is extremely passionate about dancing, something she has done ever since she was a child. She is currently taking Dance Co., in place of study hall. “Dance has been something I have loved to do ever since I was little, so it was a no brainer. Even if I do lose study time, I also realized that it helps me focus and concentrate a lot better in school and at home.”

When asked about advice for freshmen and sophomores thinking of whether or not to take Fine Arts, she says “You lose study time in school, but I think it’s worth it. Fine Arts classes help you concentrate so much better and are stressors in the rigorous IB curriculum. In addition, it helps you learn things about yourself that you wouldn’t normally learn in a traditional class setting.”

Ursula R. is a member of show choir and she says that taking since taking show choir, she has seen “a growth over time.” In addition to this, she says “it’s nice to have a class not IB related.” She also thinks that the relationships she’s created with the people in her class are very important. “When you’re in a class [together] for long enough, you become family.”