OUR VIEWS: Music trip is too ambitious

Oct 25, 2012

 

It’s a time when memories and experiences help shape our young people’s future. It’s a time when kids should be kids, and not be saddled with the financial pressures they will be faced with in their adult years. There is plenty of time for that later.

Studies are a large part of the experience, but there is so much more — athletics, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, relationships and getting your first car, just to name a few.

Many schools even provide students with the “opportunity of a lifetime” to participate in a school-sanctioned trip, oftentimes costing thousands of dollars. For example, the Grand Haven High School Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra are planning an ambitious trip that would take them to Carnegie Hall in New York City, then across Europe.

The projected cost? More than $3,000 per student.

We agree that this would be the trip of a lifetime — but on the other hand, it puts an undue burden on students and their parents to raise the necessary funds to participate. You’re not going to raise that kind of money collecting pop cans and washing cars. Even the most ambitious of fundraising efforts are sure to leave families scrambling to cover half the cost of the trip.

For those who aren’t able to come up with the necessary funding, what impact does it have on them, and how is that perceived among their peers whose families do have the means to support such a trip?

We feel that the harm it can cause would be significant.

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on parents to provide for their children, and this just adds to it.

Every parent wants to give their child every opportunity possible. But at a time when providing the basic needs seems insurmountable for some, we feel the additional pressures caused by these activities is unnecessary.

We applaud the leaders of our youth for teaching our children the concept of reaching for the stars, but we also suggest that we keep things in perspective and operate within realistic means.

A trip to Europe is a tremendous goal. But if it turns out to be too pricy, and fundraising efforts come up short, then perhaps a scaled-down trip would be more appropriate.
We’re sure those who can’t afford a trip across the Atlantic would greatly appreciate a chance to join their classmates and friends on a trip to Carnegie Hall that would certainly be remembered for a lifetime, without having to break the bank to get there.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

Lyla

agree

LUVGH

Update: Word is trip was planned without parental input. That is a problem. No wonder this is a mess. Sounds like someone planning their own retirement farewell tour. Trib was right...too much.

Creedance

UPDATE: All school functions are. The parental input will be whether their own kids go or not and not worry about the rest.

jvc

Perhaps something on this .big of a scale SHOULD have parental input

anonanon

The parent input should be more than that they decide if they go or not. They are the people who have to pay, and on that excuse me or does this sound like a joy trip for Lemon? It never had any input from students about what they wanted to do or go, and the parents too. Gosh, we had choses for a New York trip last year, and we got it cheaper. Lemon gets what she wants and I really wonder if the board of education would not approve of this trip if they knew what they have been doing to the students who can not go, and the cost of the trip.

Creedance

Yes, that is the idea of it. A joy trip. For "Lemon", as you seem so proud to disrespectfully use, and for the kids. Kids have a choice to go, so do the parents. Perhaps if you really want to "get her", have no one go. This has nothing to do with the school board and it's unfortunate if you think it does. I understand that you're only in your second year of being able to vote, but please inform yourself of what duties people have in their positions.

rationalresident

Creedance: This is more than just a simple choice of whether to go or not to go. It is not simply a financial decision, or one of principle. There is a fear by several students (whether real of perceived) of the repercussions by Mrs. Lemon of choosing to not go. This is the culture in her department. One has to be a parent of her student, and hear these stories, to truly understand this. It is very troubling. As I stated earlier, one should not "go against the family" in choir....

anonanon

Yeah, and also if this is supposed to be a choir "family", then maybe everyone should have an equal chance and chose of opinions. Including the parents. Otherwise it just seems like a dictatorship. Maybe it should be more of the type of family that cares about one another. Lemon should learn that families support one another and care about them instead of treating them like crap with guilt tripping them.

Creedance

Yeah, good luck with that one buddy. Even in a family of four, a real family of four, it's hard to all agree on things. Now, times that by about 50 and let me know how that goes.

Lyla

Grow the heck up. YOU should be ashamed of yourself.

Megan MacLeod

As a participant on this trip, I was present at the meeting in June when the students, our parents, and Mrs. Lemon sat down and discussed every minute aspect of this trip. We were well versed in every detail. She gave us a payment plan, the itinerary for the entire trip, even details of what we should pack. All of the parents' questions were answered before they decided whether or not they wanted to let their student go.
What really angers me is the people on here who don't know what they're talking about. People have assumed that we had no choice, that we're being forced to go. I feel really sorry for people who feel like they have to spew lies and try to destroy this trip.
Those of us who are going have made the decision for ourselves. Who are you to tell us we made the wrong decision when it wasn't your decision to make?

anonanon

Excuse me Megan, How BRAINWASHED are you? Seems to me that all you hear is what you want to and do not actually have any financial issues, but can afford this trip without problems. Students who can not pay this trip get guilt tripped so bad that some of them have emotional issues. Have you actually listened to what she said at the beginning. "Parents will not have to pay anything out their pockets." However that never happened did it? There are parents on here that were in that meeting that even said what she said. You need to read everything instead of select comments. You have not experienced anything that these parents and students have so back out.

Creedance

Would you feel this strongly if the trip was free but still some students weren't allowed to go for other reasons? Wouldn't that be even more difficult to handle emotionally? Perhaps this trip being so expensive is protecting more people that can now use valid excuses than it is hurting them.

anonanon

If people could go for free do you really think this would be an issue? Guilt tripping the students whom can not go because of the payment of this trip is the true problem.

Lyla

No Lemon, I don't think anyone expected to get the trip for free but I also don't think it's right that some kids work their butts off fundraising, others don't and those who bring in the big bucks fundraising have their monies put in a "kitty" to be split amongst all. What's the justice in that? What's also the justice in those who have found out after "the numbers game" that the cost has gone up substantially, they can't afford it and not having their paid in monies being refunded? Is bullying those kids because it isn't the "good of the choir family right?" I don't think so. The trip to Carnegie Hall would have been sufficient.

Creedance

What in the world is there to be fearful of a choir teacher? If the "family" or the director is that vindictive, why would anyone be a part of it in the first place? That was the initial choice made by the student. Look, I get why people are upset if they can't make things happen for their children. However, there are many things that people will need to be selective about. As rumor has it, the director's last year. If anyone has put that much heart and soul into something for 30+ years, let them have the glory and those that choose to be a part of it, great. People shouldn't tear something down because they feel left out. There will be other trips in the future. I would like you to honestly say that even if a different trip that all students would be able to participate. Or, is it because you can afford New York versus Europe, you'd be ok with leaving the rest out?

Lyla

Again, my experience is she puts the fear of God into each and every one of her students. Most stay in choir as they love to sing, but the way she treats students is horrible unless they are her pets. And again, you sound just like Lemon in this posting. I've heard enough from others that this is just a glory trip for you and your retirement. You should be truly ashamed of yourself. Since I had a child who graduated last spring and spent a lot of time fundraising, if I find out their monies are going to this trip, since their classes of choir and orchestra were opted out any trip, I'll be raising further cain. By the way, I also heard that payment had to be made for the portion of the Carnegie Hall performance: WRONG! IT'S FREE!!!

anonanon

Wow that is small. I am in a family of 10 and we really do not have any problems. We know home to agree on things and what to avoid. We are a true family that sticks together in the toughest of times.

anonanon

However, still what they are doing is wrong. They also did not let the students ahead of time say if they were going or not. They just expected that everyone would. So, since they did not ask the students, and just signed them up and they can not go, guilt trip them? It is not the students fault that they can not pay, but they should totally learn that because of the teacher's mistakes, they should not be taking it out on the students.

anonanon

Another thing I would like to bring up, Lemon today is having the students writing letters to the tribune today at school to try to change their views, but if I remember there is something called the freedom of speech, and the freedom of press. So, they have no right because that would be trying to violate a right the tribune has and the reporter has. I have been informed of this by a student I know about this, and Lemon is planning on meeting with the tribune to remove this, but hey if the parents have things they want to bring out to people's attention, why would Lemon be so worried if it was not true? All that has been said up here is completely true about her and this has been going on for years of her theories about guilt tripping the students. There are people in this community who actually get emotionally harmed by her guilt tripping. Most people only really come out and say this after they are out of high school and choir, but I am really glad students are starting to bring it out and the parents are getting involved with it too. A family member of mine had been guilt tripped by her in front of people in her office a couple of years ago because our car broke down on a rehearsal night and he could not make it. She said he should have been ashamed of himself for not making it and that he "harmed" the group for not being able to rehearse with them. If you do not believe ask some of the students what she says to them if they can not make a rehearsal or have a wedding, or even a sick person in the hospital. You would be shocked of what they are told by her.

Creedance

Finally we see the reason why you have been commenting. You really could care less about the trip. Overall, you don't like the director. She probably pushed you in choir. You are obviously defiant so naturally she didn't like you. Now you have to embellish stories to try and get the community involved. Too bad for you that she more than established and has hundreds of students join her choir year in and out. Of course she's hard on people like you. She wants the best. You don't qualify. All in all, you just don't want to see someone who is more valuable to this community be successful once again! Also, you need to understand what rights are and where they are applicable.

anonanon

First of all learn to read. I never was in choir, my family members have been and plenty of people that I know have also had issues with her, 2.) I know what I am talking about because I have had proper schooling about the rights of people and the freedoms of speech and press, 3.) I do not have anything against her, I know her personally. Her theories need to stop, and especially when it results to bullying. You need to learn to grow up and see what she is doing. You say that you have children, but you support her theories of guilt tripping the children and letting them get emotional damage? That is not what a parent should be allowing a teacher to do to a student. I have seen students running out of her room crying because of her guilt tripping.

Megan MacLeod

I am a proud member of this choir, and I'll have you know that Mrs. Lemon is not forcing us to write letters to the editor. She said if we wanted to have a voice and help make a difference, writing a letter would be a good idea. Also, writing a letter to the editor is not violating anyone's freedom of speech or freedom of press. The Trib is allowed to say how they feel, and we are allowed to reply and say how we feel. What's wrong with that?

anonanon

Okay, but trying to get the tribune to remove this is a violation against their rights. You need to also think for yourself and stop using what Lemon says. Also, all of this is coming from current students and not from air. You need to listen to the students in school and the ones who actually have had these guilt trips that have happened to them. NOT HER PETS!!!

Creedance

Again, here is your "rights" thing. With all of your education you have, you would know that freedom of the press and freedom of speech are legal rights. That being said, no rights were violated. The Tribune can print this if that want. Just as the class is allowed to write letters. Welcome to the world, kid, the protective "rights" you know of are school rules. However, there are no laws being violated.

anonanon

The school and students telling them to remove this is not their choice. I know what I was talking about when the school trying to have them remove this.

Megan MacLeod

I'd just like to point out that neither Mrs. Lemon nor her students are try to get them to remove this article. You're accusing us of things that simply aren't true.

anonanon

Yes I know for a fact about this because I was informed by a student in one of her classes. This person would not write for her, but against her for what she has done.

Megan MacLeod

"Yes I know for a fact about this because I was informed by a student in one of her classes." This makes you sound quite uneducated, if I may say, because you are hearing these things from a student who obviously has something against Mrs. Lemon. You are a second-hand, uninvolved party. Mrs. Lemon's exact words were "Wouldn't it be great if the Tribune decided to take that article down?" not "LET'S ALL WRITE ANGRY LETTERS AND FORCE THE TRIBUNE TO TAKE THAT ARTICLE DOWN!" You and your student-source that you're hearing these things from are exaggerating the facts, twisting them to make Mrs. Lemon seem like the bad guy.

Lyla

Megan, please. If you look above and look in the Tribune, you will see that students are posting on here and students are sending letters into the Tribune. It doesn't take a mind reader besides the fact that the student who was in my house, talking about the letter writing was upset and stated that they had no intention of writing a slam against the Tribune because they agreed what the Tribune said. I have had students in both the choir and orchestra. What I have said happened, happened. They chose to continue in the programs because of their love of music but the nastiness by Lemon created a lot of tears. Neither now will continue with their love of music for fear they might experience it again. I have seen it first hand since 2004 with my own children and discussing it with those above got me no where because "she's such an outstanding member of the community." One who bullies her students if they don't follow her "choir family guidelines." I'm fully aware you are a sophomore, give it time unless you are her pet. AND, for the record, mine received "A's" and not as pets.

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