By Pauline Crooks
SDCOE Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator
This week is National Arts in Education Week, a time to recognize the essential role the arts play in a complete and balanced education for all students.
I have seen firsthand the impact that arts education has had on the lives of countless children, regardless of whether they chose to pursue a career in the arts as an adult.
My personal arts education experience also transformed my life.
I grew up in a family where the arts were valued, but the financial resources to visit museums or attend professional performances did not exist.
I arrived home from school one afternoon when I was 9 years old and confidently shared with my parents that I was going to be a musician and that, in fact, I could already picture myself standing on a stage, performing a flute solo at a concert. Although I was small for my age and painfully shy, my parents did not laugh when they realized how challenging it was for me to even hold a flute, let alone make a sound on the instrument.
It wasn't long before I was the best flute player in my class and the top musician in our school, selected to be a member of our district honor band. I was able to travel around the United States and even play on stage with the symphony while in high school. The confidence I experienced in music class allowed me to realize the comments my classmates made about my clothing, love of reading, or intelligence did not matter.
This persistence and determination carried me all the way through school and has stayed with me today. My personal transformation is one reason why I work to ensure all students in San Diego County have access to a quality arts education.
Please share your story on social media this week using the hashtags #BecauseOfArtsEd and #ArtsEdWeek. After National Arts in Education Week, use #TheArtsMatter and continue to use #BecauseOfArtsEd.