As it currently stands, the Katahdin Schools have always held a successful choral program. Mrs. Bonny Cox has been teaching chorus and general music to the students of the Katahdin schools since they first opened. This year, she recently announced that after 41 years of being involved with the music program in our area schools, she will be retiring. While her retirement is well deserved, there is one thing that is not. As it stands, the administration has made no plans to fill her position that will be left vacant in less than a month.
For the past thirteen years, I have been involved in the music program at Katahdin. I have had the privilege of being a student of Mrs. Cox since the start of my kindergarten year. I have had Mrs. Cox as a teacher for general music in elementary school, middle school chorus, and high school chorus. I, along with many other students, could not possibly explain how much the music program has positively influenced my education over the years.
It has been proven by studies that the music student is more actively engaged in school, statistically better in their studies than students who do not participate in music courses. From personal experience, I can tell you that I have found this to be true. For some students, having shop class was what made their schooling enjoyable. When this program was taken away, many of the students that enjoyed this program became uninterested in school altogether. For the approximately thirty high school students that participate in chorus (almost 1/3 of the whole high school), this would also be the case if this vital position is not filled. We have cut too many elective courses that the students truly enjoy, and chorus does not need to be added to this list.
Although I will no longer be a student of Katahdin High School after June, I do not want to see this fabulous program disappear from the course offerings. Mrs. Cox has worked hard to build up the music program at the Katahdin schools. Our students are very musically talented. Whether it is one of the choruses, the PACK performances, our All Aroostook Chorus, or our students that go to All State Chorus, our school’s music program has became well known and recognized across the state. Considering Katahdin is one of the smaller schools in Aroostook County, it speaks wonders that our school sends one of the biggest groups of students to the All Aroostook Music Festival. Our choral program is well ran, structured, and appreciated, and it does not deserve to be cut after this year. There are many students who will be left heartbroken without this program next year.
Since the time of budget downfalls, the arts have always been the target. Over my high school career, I have seen our music program always be the first on the list of programs to be cut. Thankfully, due to the caring community members, voters, parents, etc., we have not lost any of our music programs. This time around, it has been kept on the down low. Many community members and voters are unaware that there have been no intentions to fill the vacancy left by Mrs. Cox. Therefore, there has been no attention brought towards the fact that this program could potentially not exist next year. To all of the parents, community members, faculty members, and voters: Please do not let our music program be cut. This needs to be brought up, and a strong battle needs to be raised to keep this program alive in our schools. As the students, we are helpless without the help of our community members. Please help us to speak out before it is too late to save our music program.
In closing, I would like to thank Mrs. Cox for the great work that she has done for the students of the Katahdin schools. You have made a positive impact in the education and lives of many. Not only have you been a teacher, but you have been a caring friend to the many students who love your courses. You have helped myself and many others grow as choral students. You have been a dedicated, selfless educator for many years, and I wish you well in your retirement.