My mother said my first dream was about music. It has always been a part of my life, and always will be, but I didn't realize how lucky I was to be growing up in Putnam City Schools where I had the opportunity to nurture my passion. I remember with great fondness my music programs in elementary school, singing rounds with the whole school during Early Beat, Ms. Reynold's risers at Will Rogers, singing "You Needed Me" in the talent show at Harvest Hills, and being in the choir with Mrs. Schantz at Northridge. When I got to junior high, I participated in various singing contests as a soloist and as part of the entire choir with Mr. Wong, who really made me feel like I had talent. I was inspired to continue singing through high school with Ms. Tate where I even joined the show choir, though I am NOT a dancer. It was because the arts were so important to this school district that I had the confidence to apply for a music scholarship at Oklahoma City University. Had I not had a strong music background, I never would have won that scholarship.
People often say it's the extra-curricular activities that keep kids in school, and having been a classroom teacher, I can attest to that. But I liked school and wanted to excel, and really even took for granted the access I had to a great music program in Putnam City. Now that I see state budget cuts forcing districts to cut their music programs, and have even seen school districts that don't have music programs at all, I am grateful that Putnam City has always chosen to keep musical arts in all of its schools. I literally would not be the musician I am today without the teachers mentioned above, and feel such gratitude to district leaders for seeing how important music is to children. With over 100 fine arts teachers, the commitment to the arts is still present, even in this round of trying economic times, and our children are better for it. We don't know if our teachers have the next Demetra George (PCHS graduate, opera singer, and PC Foundation Wall of Fame honoree) sitting in their class today, but they just might!