"We all are blind until we see that in the human plan
Nothing is worth the making if
It does not make the man.
Why build these cities glorious if man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world, unless the builder also grows."
Established in 1906, this school is the oldest high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This school is part of the Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma's largest school district, and serves students in grades 6 through 12. Since 1997, it has served as a fine and performing arts magnet school.
We currently serve an extremely diverse student population of around 500 individuals. Over 88 percent of these students would be considered economically disadvantaged. This is a school where expression is not just important; it is LIFE-SAVING. Help continue the arts to enable the expression of kids who otherwise have NO power or control in their lives.
My high school students walk in my room tired, bored, and often angry/upset. At the same time, many of them have headphones in as they enter, listening to rap, trap, hip-hop, R&B...they absorb these dense rhythmic music and therefore has a vast inner library of aural rhythmic comprehension. Acknowledging that I decided to engage that strength of theirs by purchasing African drums for an improvisatory drum circle. So far it’s gone SO well.
As my students begin to touch and hit the drum, I watch them relieving stress and difficult emotions.
They engage deeply with these drums, voicing their life frustrations, expressing their condition. It is extremely captivating and therapeutic for them. Since I started this, my class attendance has been higher than ever. Which of course means I’ll need more then 6 drums now. These are good problems but for now, unfortunate.
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