Friday, May 22, 2015

...And They Gave Up Recess to Do It!
By:  Anthony Griffin, Lace to the Top    

My son played a recorder, sang songs, and banged a xylophone last tonight at his third grade concert. It may not have prepared him for Carnegie or a career, but he did something that mattered more. And he gave up his recess to do it. 

His teacher, Henry Finnegan, took every student who wanted to join the school's chorus which was over 100 musicians in just the third grade chorus. Mr. Finnegan taught them more than the words and notes to Brookhaven Elementary's school song. And they gave up their recess to get it. 

When the concert ended and the applauding parents sat back down, a painted thank you poster signed by every student was presented to Mr. Finnegan. The students gave up their recess, because their teacher gave them love. Mr. Finnegan's smile and genuine gratitude made it clear why so many students joined. His passion for music brought the community together to hear our children, say hello to our neighbors, and remind us what is important in the school house. But our children had to miss recess to do it. 

My son sang songs in the halls after the concert with more volume and confidence than he did on stage. He never considered it a sacrifice to give up recess to play music, but that does not excuse the fact that he had to. Music matters. Art matters. Recess matters. Physical education matters. Governor Cuomo said tests do not matter. 

Our children would benefit from a school day that reflects that.

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