Every morning the familiar sound of “good afternoon eagles” greets the students and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, followed by a series of announcements that are mainly centered around sports. Day after day, students hear about the accomplishments of their peers, but among these, commendation of athletes prevails. On the other hand, perhaps the most common victim of the neglect and lack of enthusiasm from our school board administration and student body is the arts. The unbalanced quantity of recognition between athletes and artists at MSD demonstrates a broad range of favoring toward athletic programs.
In reality, many of the excess, publicly acknowledged athletes have achievements that are minor instead of exemplary. Plastered across social media, such as school twitter accounts, and the walls of the school is a plethora of average accomplishments.
Meanwhile, beneath the spotlight are the numerous state and nation-wide accolades achieved by the arts department. At the completion of the 2016-2017 school year, the school marching band, the Eagle Regiment, received second place overall at the state level for the third consecutive year.
Not only did the Eagle Regiment receive and accept the opportunity to compete in the Bands of America regional championship for the first time in 13 years, but also it became a finalist; the MSD marching band then went on to place 9 out of 12 bands competing in finals.
In addition to the marching band, the concert bands have thrived as well. The band received the The Otto J. Kraushaar Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the state, for the second consecutive year. Students outside of the music department more than likely will not understand the grand scale of honor that an award like this brings to the band and the school because of the neglect in its acknowledgement.
Another flourishing department at MSD is the Art Department. This department’s focus is not in competition, but to invigorate students through visual stimuli by donating their time to the school. They have been involved with the painting of murals across campus to create a more welcoming environment, and also were involved in the beautification of Marjory’s Garden.
Likewise, the Drama Department has attained a multitude of successes. Under the guidance of drama teacher Melody Herzfeld, the students involved in the theatre program at MSD strive for excellence in each production. The students consistently put in countless hours of work to create extraordinary productions that ultimately fail to bring large audiences because of MSD’s inability to advertise and express support for the occasion.
The 2017 production of Shrek was awarded with 25 Cappies, which are awards given to students who participate in the productions. Shrek also brought home several other awards such as Critic’s Choice for small ensembles. This is only a fraction of the numerous achievements made by the Drama Department for this past school year.
In collaboration with orchestra, spoken word club, literary magazine and chorus, these MSD arts programs set the standard for how success can be achieved by other organizations. It is truly a tragedy that the extraordinary accomplishments of these organizations fly under the radar and fail to be acknowledged and rewarded by the school.