A World of Opportunities

Miami High’s fine art electives (H indicates that course is offered at honors level) Drama Drama (1, 2, 3H, 4H) Cinema Chorus Chorus (1, 2, 3, 4) Women's chorus (5H, 6H) Mixed chorus (5H, 6H) Guitar or Keyboard Guitar (1, 2, 3H, 4H) Keyboard (1, 2, 3H, 4H) Band Band (1, 2, 3H, 4H) Jazz band Marching band TV and Production TV and production (1, 2, 3H, 4H) Art Painting Drawing (1, 2) Portfolio (1, 2, 3H, 4H) AP Studio 2d Design

By Alfred Cardenas, Staff Writer

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Miami Senior High Women’s Choir practicing for their showcase.

Oh, you know that feeling when you are about to present a project in front of the whole class? Yeah… that moment in which you felt like passing out in front of your teacher. Well maybe there is a solution for this particular feeling of panic. Thanks to the fine-arts classes at Miami High, students are able to develop their social skills, express their creativity, and expand their talents. So next time you feel the world is going to end just because you speak in front of a group, remember that you can always develop your confidence in fine-arts classes.


How can fine arts classes help you

When it comes to expressing themselves, some students create a barrier with the world around them. However, with the help of fine-arts classes, they can learn how to discover a world of opportunities open just for them. Senior Moises Flores said, “Personally as a child I was a shy person, but that changed when I started drawing. I was for sure slowly opening up.” Senior Nathaly De Leon added, “In fine-art classes like drama and music, we are encouraged to put our limitations aside and work our talents by performing in front of an audience. Fine-art classes push you out of your comfort zone.”

Another important factor of taking any fine-art class is that it is a requirement to graduate. “As part of every students’ graduation requirement, they have to take and pass a fine arts class,” said assistant principal Ms. Leal Students are only required one credit of a fine-arts class.

Mr. Perez’s students are learning how to draw facial features.

Developing your talents

Most teachers and students remember taking fine-arts classes as one of their best high school experiences because it helped them to discover their true selves. Chorus teacher Ms. Cid who went to Coral Reef Senior High School as a visual and performing arts magnet student through the chorus and piano academy, said,  “I obviously enjoyed chorus as the competitive nature of striving for the best out of each other really pushed us to become better musicians and, in turn, better human beings.”

These valuable tools that we get in fine-arts programs can be used to build our own path. Junior Emma Alonso said, “Drama has been my favorite class ever since my freshman year because it taught me that hard work and teamwork are keys to success. It has for sure helped me with developing not only my social skills, but also my leaderships skills as it takes specific people in a cast or in crew to lead the group onto having a successful show.


Arts classes change lives

The importance of having a fine-arts program is demonstrated every day in Miami High’s classrooms. Band director Mr. Campos said, “Arts are what make us most human, most complete as people and cannot be learned through occasional or random exposure any more than math or science. Data has proven that participation in the fine arts is a key component in improving learning throughout all academic areas such as reducing dropout rate, raising attendance rate, developing team building.”
We all know that somewhere inside us, lies our artistic personality, and with the fine-arts classes, we have the chance to express ourselves in a safe environment. Senior Julie Morales said, “As a fine arts student, you express to de-stress. The arts develop neurological systems that produce a spectrum of benefits that range from social skills, to creativity, and an improved emotional balance.” 11th grader Maria Aldana said having a fine-art program gives students the chance to develop their creativity in areas that are not specifically related to core classes.
Taking fine-arts classes will not only help you to improve yourself personally and emotionally, it would also help you expand your skills and talents for your future. TV production teacher Dr.  Underwood said, “Students in fine arts often find themselves working on collaborative projects with others. This is a good social skill to learn because in the ‘real world’ many jobs and projects in a wide variety of settings call for people to work together, to communicate, to make decisions (both big and small), and to come to a successful conclusion. All of these areas are found in fine arts classes.”

Miami Senior High Million Dollar Band practicing with Mr. Campos.

Gaining more support

Even though our administration is so supportive of the fine-arts program, to ensure the success of every student, the program itself could use more funding to improve. “The government really needs to do their part to support the arts rather than slash our funds,” said Mr. Campos, “when research has proven that students involved in fine arts improves the overall academic achievement of students.”

Dr. Underwood said, “TV Production has some very expensive equipment. Replacement and repair take up a lot of funds. The band is always in need of new instruments. Art supplies are not cheap and neither are things like a good piano for chorus or better guitars. Grant writing is always a good opportunity to raise funds, but writing grants takes a lot of time and fulfilling those grants eats up even more time. We will continue to do our best for our students. We certainly could not be at the high level we are right now without the generous support of our principal, Mr. Valdes.”

Improving the program

Allowing more students into fine-art classes at Miami High can drastically improve the  program. Ms. Cid said, “We need to focus on expanding our arts classes like music or drama to offer more opportunities for our own students to achieve success in every aspect. Once these programs are large enough, we can then support having AP classes to better cater to the students who want to make this a part of their life,” she said.

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