To the editor of THE EAGLE:
To standing ovations from a packed house, the Southern Berkshire Regional School District’s production of "Grease" delivered a clear message this past weekend why support for our schools is so critical.
As I said to SBRSD’s artistic director, Travis Daly, if I didn’t know the students, I would have assumed they were professionals from the School of the Performing Arts (the "Fame" high school). The talent was extraordinary! A fourth-grade instructor/professional dancer, Tom Masters, choreographed a program that had the audience cheering after each routine (our students easily out-hand-jived anyone in Broadway’s "Grease"). At intermission, at the end of the show, on Facebook and in town, I kept on hearing how we put on a thoroughly enjoyable, professional production equal to or exceeding most regional theater.
All this does not happen by accident. Our district has the ability to nurture talent. SBRSD is fortunate to have an administration and communities that support the arts along with outstanding academic, career and sports programs. Just last week, the Eagle reported that The National Association of Music Merchants [NAMM] Foundation named the district one of its 2014 "Best Communities for Music Education." We are fortunate to live in an environment where businesses more often than not say yes when asked to help.
Contributions from businesses such as Herrington’s, the Marketplace Cafe, and Kwik Print helped control costs. A grant from the Eagle Fund of the Taconic Foundation helped underwrite show production. Tickets were donated to senior centers to make it possible for community members to enjoy an evening’s entertainment as part of the district’s commitment to involve seniors in our schools. Mt. Everett parents ensured students had what they needed to make it through the rehearsal schedule with grades and emotions intact. The one downside of the weekend was that Mt. Everett’s state-champion robotics team had to miss the show as members were in York, Pa. reaching the semi-finals in the East Regional competition.
This is all a long way of saying that as we approach our annual town meetings, look carefully at what our schools mean to our communities. I believe that the talented SBRSD staff, supported by the school administration, and the increasingly positive community involvement in our schools, is excelling at providing our children with the skills and knowledge necessary for students to succeed in all areas of their lives. This cannot continue without our support for our district.
E. BONNIE SILVERS
The writer is vice chairman of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District’s School Committee.