Tell-A-FriendI love the way FAME gives children the opportunity to perform in a large venue without feeling the pressure of a contest. I have participated in the FAME Festival since it began with my choir and honors choir. The kids and parents of my school, Whispering Meadows, look forward to performing there each year. Parents comment about how special the FAME Festival is to them and some of them were students of mine when it first started. They also performed at the FAME festival when they were in school.
It is a wonderful opportunity to study other cultures along with songs and games from those countries in my regular music classes - along with learning more challenging songs for the performance at the festival. My school also invites the visiting artists each year to our school and this is one of the highlights for our kids. They love to see the performers at our school and then they are excited to take their parents to the FAME festival so they too can watch the visiting artists. This is such a great experience for our students that I hope it will continue for many more years.

To whom it may concern:
When I moved to Fort Wayne as a first-grader, I was a bookish kid who was more interested in reading and drawing than in playing sports or joining the Girl Scouts. I remember being a little nervous about how I would fit in at my new school. But I'll never forget how excited I was when I discovered all the artistic opportunities my new school offered. I was immediately plunged into a world of school plays, art classes, and choir. The first time I heard about the FAME festival, I couldn't believe that a regular kid like me was going to get to go downtown and have the whole city check out my art. Participating in the arts, including the FAME program, gave me a great deal of confidence, helped me make friends, and increased my interest in academics.
In my teen years, art was even more important to me. My art classes always felt like safe places to express myself, and my art teachers always made an effort to show their concern for every one of their students. Participation in extracurricular art programs was one of the factors helped me get into a highly-rated liberal arts school. Furthermore, it's been proven that the creative thinking, sensory stimulation, and movement that the arts encourage have positive effects on students' memory and problem-solving skills.
As an adult, I continue to write and paint. I am the fiction editor for a literary magazine, and I'm in graduate school to become a secondary English teacher. The values and skills I learned from the arts serve me to this day, and I hate to think that today's youth will be missing out on those valuable experiences. I know that times are tough and that difficult choices must be made in order to meet the needs of all students. I only ask that you consider just what you're asking students to give up when you take away their art programs.