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Letter to the editor: Vote 'yes' on PR-B School referendum

Why do we need arts programs in education? Creativity. Collaboration. Improved academic performance. Confidence. Public speaking. Visual learning. Decision-making. Perseverance. Focus. Accountability.

The list goes on and the benefits to the students of Pine River Backus are impressive.

I have had the privilege of directing the PR-B High School annual musical for the past 13 years and coaching the PR-B speech team for the past two seasons. I see the profound impact these arts activities make in the lives of students on a daily basis.

An auditorium is needed for our students and our community. The school currently supports three theatre productions per year: the high school musical, the PR-B Community Education play, and Prairie Fire Children's Theater performances.

These productions showcase students and community members in a variety of roles, including acting, set building, stage crew, light and sound technicians, orchestra members, stage managers, student directors and more. The auditorium would be used for student assemblies, traveling presentations, band and choir concerts, awards presentations and much more.

Currently, we share the space with gym classes, sports practices, etc. This means students who are preparing for a production are allowed very little time in the space they will actually perform. This would be the equivalent of sending the volleyball team to the section tournament having never practiced in a gym.

We cannot rehearse with the orchestra, sound equipment or set until the week of the show because the equipment would need to be put up and torn down nightly for gym class to occur. The stage is not Americans with Disabilities Act accessible, the bleachers are in need of a mandated update, the sound and lights are not strong enough for the space we are in.

Please vote "yes" to support these talented students for generations to come.

Jen Anderson,

Backus

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