Board members should also heed the words of Amani "Justin" Holloway, an 8th-grade student at Franklin Military Academy, who spoke on behalf of the MIM program at last night's public hearing on Supt. Brandon's proposed budget.
With City Council chambers packed to near capacity, Holloway was poised, confident and polite as he explained how the MIM program changed his life and why the board should reject Brandon's recommendation.
"My Mom is a Richmond Public Schools teacher and I know from the changes that we have had to make at home due to the cuts to her salary, that the budget is tight [...] When I was in 4th grade, I started dancing in Minds in Motion. I had done hip-hop dance before, but never ballet. Minds in Motion taught me about discipline, technique, and flexibility. We learned about conservation and saving the Chesapeake Bay through dancing. I learn best when I am dancing.
"That year, I earned a scholarship to Richmond Ballet and was accepted in Team XL. I have also been featured in Style Weekly's Top 16 under 16 for my commitment to dance. Minds in Motion gave me studio dance experience and I am now taking modern, ballet, tap, hip-hop and I am in a performing dance group at the Central Virginia Academy.
"Minds in Motion helped me learn the history SOLs and showed me the best way for me to learn. If the funding is cut, other kids may not discover their talents in the arts. Instead of cutting art programs, we should make more. Please continue to fund Minds in Motion. Thank you."
|Justin Holloway performing a scene from "The Nutcracker" at a local shopping mall.|
As one parent told me: "We put three kids through Richmond Public Schools, and Minds in Motion was far and away the most impressive program they were ever involved in. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember our kids dancing on stage with so many others. Those performances demonstrate the beauty and pride that comes from working hard together toward a common goal."
Please let the members of the City of Richmond Public School Board know you disagree with Supt. Brandon's proposal to trim the school budget by eliminating Minds in Motion. Why in the world would she suggest that we take the experience of Minds in Motion from RPS children for less than the cost of yet another administrator in Richmond City Hall?
Click here to find your City of Richmond School Board member's contact information.