The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The Decline of Arts in Schools: A Call to Action for LHS Community


Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about the arts; they are very dear to me. I can barely go five seconds without talking about playing instruments, watching plays, or moshing in a metal pit. To sum it all up, I’m addicted to artistry.

Due to all this, it greatly pains me to say the practice of the arts is waning in public schools. Not just at LHS, but globally, the arts have decreased drastically—to an effect of $19.47 billion annually. About 55% of school districts (around 7,000 of the existing 12,546) have either cut or massively decreased funding to the arts to the point of them being inoperable. It seems LHS could be crawling toward joining those ranks as well.

Before we address that issue, though, allow me to preface the importance of the arts.

“The Arts” consists of the forms of artistic expression we all adhere to. Not a single person I know doesn’t listen to music on their ride here, much less bust a move when their favorite song comes on. The practice of these arts in school through band, choir, theatre, and dance has been linked to not only creating a sense of community but also enriching the existing one.

Studies even show that just having an arts program increases critical thinking, inclusivity, and academic performance of all involved.

We at LHS would be remiss to deny the impact of the arts on our school. From fantastic school performances to the plaques of platinum and gold lining our halls, we have plenty of documentation of a culture of sports AND music. We even have enough banners to blanket half the school.

Kevin McAvoy, the (fantastic) Band and Choral Music Director at LHS, said that “being involved in music gave me a sense of belonging that I can compare to students involved in sports” and that programs like these “teach students things they would never learn about themselves otherwise.”

But now, instead of being revered for drama performances, musical masterpieces, shocking artistry, AND fantastic athletes, we are solely known for the superb soccer teams or the state title, record-breaking runners we call friends. The arts have been put on the “back burner” at LHS. Some have even been reduced from classes to mere clubs.

Over recent years, the funding allotted to the arts has decreased drastically, and in effect, we risk losing the very thing in which most of us hold our identities. I can’t speak for any of you, but I know that without music and theater in my life, I’d be a wholly different person.

The reason for these cuts is simple: the Ludlow Public School District just doesn’t have the money, and the town (and of course, mainly state funding) is to blame. Every month, on the third Thursday, the Ludlow Board Of Education votes on issues that require their adjudication, ranging from potential members of the board to the funding allotted for the school. This year (and in years past), that funding has not been enough to maintain the current practices and staff of the school, as I’m sure many of you already know. We have already lost teachers due to budget cuts, and others have resigned to make more room. The prospect of losing more music and art teachers is always looming in the background when the budget gets tight.

This has obviously left art electives in a bad spot, one that could spell chaos for them at LHS.

If a beloved department could lose its captains and capital, then one that doesn’t have the numbers is even more at risk. And that may be what happens to the years after our Junior Class. Of the students that I’ve talked to, most have said the same thing: “Once our class is gone, I don’t know who will do it.”

The class of 2025 seems to be one of the last interested in the arts. Forty percent of the entire choir, 50% of the Drama Club, and a large chunk of first-chair performers in the band are from the class of 2025. The class of 2026 makes up the majority of the remaining participants. Of course, as freshmen come in, there may be more numbers to account for, but since COVID, there has been a steady decline. Peyton Brennan, Class of 2025, says, “Since COVID, the band and chorus have been reduced to a handful, and the Drama Club was wiped out entirely.” The Drama Club was revived mostly by the current juniors (and Angelina Falcetti, Class of 2023). Over my past three years, the band went from the high fifties to the low forties, to a total of 33 people now. Mr. McAvoy also concurs, explaining that “We are still struggling to rebuild our music program in Ludlow after remote learning.”

With the class of 2025 (and soon 2026) nearing the home stretch of high school, this puts the arts in an even worse place—one that could spell disaster for LHS if change doesn’t occur. The only way to guarantee change is to push participation in these activities. You may not want to perform or play, but those are not the only ways to support your school’s art programs. You could buy a ticket or two to the fantastic shows performed by the Drama Club, or even pop in at the Choir/Band performances in the auditorium.

As a closing remark, I would like to ask something of anyone willing to assist:

LHS is a diverse school with many talents, and we are known for our athletes for a reason. But LHS is not a one-trick pony. We are not JUST athletes, as we have had and will continue to have fantastic performances and shows produced by our art departments. We will always be known as a school that creates a proper environment for students to “work collaboratively and independently to acquire knowledge, analyze problems, and develop the 21st-century skills necessary for making meaningful contributions to the global community.” But these values may slide away if we do not embrace and cherish them. So, for anyone who does enjoy these liberties, embrace them, and support LHS in all its related endeavors, be it music, education, theatre, or sports.

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