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A dilemma in the public school system has been evident for years, and former students speak their truth. The problem is quite simple, school funding and what programs get funded.
For Davion Rhone, a former student of Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts, sports teams were favored over what was considered “average students.” As a result, those who could play sports would be glorified, and those who could not were placed on the “back burner.”
Rhone believes something has to give soon if the school climate for students is to change in any way. But, for him, his time has come and passed.
The up-and-coming class of seniors is experiencing a momentous shift as they struggle with adjusting to in-class learning amidst vaccine hesitancy in communities.
It is important to note that Dyett was closed years ago from lack of enrolled students, re-opened in 2016 with over fourteen million of funding to rebuild the facility.
The school now has a black box theater, swimming pool, computer labs, art studio, digital media tech rooms, smaller theater rooms, and music equipment for bands and choirs.
This list of new gadgets and gizmos may send picture-perfect but are, in fact, a ruse to what the school put its money into, which is the sports programs — funding numerous teams from football, basketball, dance teams, cheerleading, and volleyball. Nonetheless, Dyett gains its big attraction from its entertainment.
Rhone says that there would be more opportunities for those in sports or a dance team than those who created art in their creative learning environment, this became reoccurring, and most art students felt defeated and were at the bottom of the totem pole. He calls for action and proper representation for all students across all social groups. An art school should not be known only for its sports.
Written by Mikal Eggleston
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Interview: September 10 and October 16, 2021, Davion Rhone; Dyett High School for the Arts graduate Class of 2020
Inset Image Courtesy of Eric Allix Rogers’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Justine Warrington’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License