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

Megan MacLeod

Mrs. Lemon did not force us to write letters, and she definitely did not tell us to write letters slamming the Tribune. She suggested we write a respectful letter that simply stated our opinion. I don't know how or why that upset your student so much. I am not a Sophomore, and I don't consider myself a "pet" of Mrs. Lemon's. I respect her, and the choices she makes as a teacher.

anonanon

Really you are not a pet. Seems like it to me since you were one of the only children who wrote to them. Once you stop being wet behind the ears and grow up then you will actually see what is happening.

Megan MacLeod

Excuse me. Stop accusing me of things that are untrue. I wrote a letter as soon as I saw this article, before Mrs. Lemon had said anything to Chamber choir. You are an ignorant, cowardice bully. You need to stop bashing me, Jack, Chuck, and Myrtle. We're standing up for what we believe. Hell, Jack couldn't care less about this trip, yet you're still finding a reason to push him down. What is your actual problem?

Lyla

LOL! BINGO! You just admitted twice on here that Lemon asked you guys to write letters. Now, who's the liars?

Megan MacLeod

She said it'd be a good thing to do if we wanted our voices heard. People on here were accusing Mrs. Lemon of "forcing" us to write them.

Lyla

As for Jack, maybe he should keep his nose out of it since he's been pretty nasty, too.

Lyla

Are you sure Creedance?

Creedance

"freedom of the press definition

The right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government. Americans enjoy freedom of the press under the First Amendment to the Constitution." Yes, I'm sure. This is pretty much the same for speech.

Lyla

Are you sure you aren't Lemon posing?

Lyla

I'm going to comment here as a parent who has had children in the school district for almost a decade and one in both choir and orchestra. Since this story broke, my child (now very much an adult in their 20's) opened up on more of their choir experience with Lemon. This child didn't inform me of things going on (other than the little bit I knew) because they knew I would have removed them from choir or been all over her for the way my child was treated. This last incident happened about a month before graduation where they were treated horribly because they didn't have transportation to a rehersal due to a parent's working schedule. Lemon ripped my child apart in front of other students, told the child that they created problems for the choir because they did not attend this rehersal and that the choir family was more important than the child's parent working? The child was humiliated and left crying. This same child has the voice of an angel and was told by Lemon that the only way they would ever have a solo for any performance was if they had voice lessons. Voice lessons for a high school choir? There is something seriously wrong with that picture. My experience as a parent with a child in her choir, and that of numerous other parents I have known of throughout the years has been the same: not the benefit of the children but the benefit of Lemon.

Creedance

Let me just respond to all of your posts in one. First of all, I highly doubt you're a parent of a student in choir. I did, however, go to school at GH while she was a teacher there. I know many people that were in choir. Some with good experiences, some with bad. As with anything. The funny thing is, every one of the people with bad experiences simply dropped out. Yes, I heard people complaining about her at the time. Just like any other teacher they complain about. Amazingly, she's a human who can only please so many people. I could really care less about this trip. If people can go, go. If not, don't. The problem I have is with the people that are trying to put opinions in about it that feel left out or that everyone plays. A choice was made to go to Europe by the director. People are either in or out by their own choice. Any fundraisers left over from previous years should be used. What do you want, her to pocket them instead? I'm sorry that you didn't raise kids strong enough to stand up for themselves. Perhaps they took on your attitude of entitlement rather self worth. This is high school. Voice lessons should be appropriate for those that want to perform solos. Solos are earned through hard work and talent. Just like soccer camps, football camps, etc. The performing arts should be treated the same way athletics are. This trip won't be canceled, thankfully. However, I'm proud of GH schools as a whole that they don't roll over to a few selective whiny parents and "ex"-students. The rest of the GH community is proud of the way the choirs and all performing arts have represented our community.

anonanon

First of all Creedance, let me guess, while being a student at Grand Haven High School you were a suck up who got everything they wanted, just like Megan. Second, since you are so blindsided to what she is doing to students now and how she treats them. Third, you have no voice in this community that can help you prove your point and you have no right judging someone elses parenting and students, because you have issues of being a family of 4. I come from a family right now that holds 10 in the house and you know what, we actually get along and work together as a family. Fourth, YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING ON SO STFU AND STOP POSTING!!!! Fifth, these students are normal people who have finanical issues who get the guilt tripping, not the people who actually can afford to go so until you listen to them and the parents you have no right thinking you actually know things at all. They are the people who work way harder than you, probably have injuries and still barely can afford food on the table. A school district is supposed to listen to the voices of the parents and students to hear the concerns of the people to resolve them, not take sides and blow off the comments. There are students who actually work harder than you probably ever have and still would not even touch the costs of this trip. Not only that, but what Lemon's guilt trips are is a form of bullying and if prove against her is not a classified a state law and can do major damage to her. You have no right at all, "being a "parent" " to allow her to bully students at all. If your children where having that happen to them would you just tell them to get over it? No a true parent actually gets down to the bottom of it and takes care of it instead of blowing it off. I am proud of these parents who are actually taking the time to let others know what is going on. You are nothing, but a whiny parent if you are attacking these parents who actually are living through this. Grow up and get a life Creedance.

Creedance

First of all, I'm as a six year veteran of the military. Trust me, I know first hand what hard work is. I don't owe you the satisfaction of how many sleepless nights and days I had in the desert. I earned my right to have a voice and therefore I will use it. My family gets along great. I just know that when choices are made to go on vacation, everyone has a different opinion. We don't have a programmed family. We are individuals who can think for ourselves. The simple thing is that you are failing to realize is that no matter what the destination is, people will not be able to go. Don't tell me about being selfish either. You are coming off as more selfish by saying that if it was brought down to your financial level, you'd be ok with that. Do you really think everyone could afford New York? The bar was set at the height of Europe. Some lucky kids will get to go while others will be left out. So be it. Bullying is a term that is so out of touch now and you are gullible if you don't see that. I know by your attempt at insults that you are backed into a corner and you try to use it as an aggressive way out, but it doesn't work with me. If you can intelligently have an argument with me about why this trip is wrong, I will listen. But just because some people can't go and it's either you or your friends for financial reasons, I will not listen. I don't hear you whining about Spanish trips to Mexico or team sports camps. Face it, you only have a beef with Mrs. Lemon. If you keep your focus so in such a little spectrum, you will be a lost soul when you hit your adult life. Unless I hear something a little more substantive from you, I'm out with this. It's good to know that this trip is on and will not be canceled. On a side note, "blindsided", really? You may want to look up the definition of that too.

anonanon

First of all I am not in a corner because I actually know what is happening to these parents and students. I know the truth that you do no know and until you do you are far from reality with this subject. Second, the reason why it is just this that is the problem is what the students are being put through and you really do not understand that. You are to blindsided to the fact of the emotional damage these students are getting. You are only hearing what you want, and until you actually read everything you will always think that these parents need to change their parenting. Third, I do not think everyone needs to be poor, you just need to see more of the sides of everyone instead of the privileged. You only see what you want to and do not open your mind. These students are getting bullied by this teacher, and that is one thing that Grand Haven is not about letting happen, yet the school district is. 2 years ago a friend of mine commited suicide and the school said they would try to stand against this. However, right under their noses is one of the biggest people who is just attacking these students. I have no "beef" with Lemon as a person. What she is getting allowed to do to these students because of this trip is being allowed, and not only from this trip, but years ago. You need to really stand back and listen to these people who have had things happen to them. Some of these students are getting a lot of emotional damage from her, and it is not only her either. Mrs. Meyers even is doing this guilt tripping. If this trip is supposed to be fun then why are the people getting guilt tripped for not being able to afford the trip. You can ask both sides of the groups. People who are going and are not and you will hear that there is major tension between them. Not because of the money, but how the people who can not go are getting treated. There is a girl on here from Symphony orchesta, anon, who is going, but you actually need to read it more. These students are just having issues now since this started and yet you want to teach them that friendships can be split just because of this? These students are the future generation that will be taking care of you when you can not and yet these students are getting emotional confliction. Really think about what you would rather have, students who get along great or ones that have mental damage just because of a stupid trip. Also, you being a military person should know how many shots you have to have to go across seas (they have to pay out of pocket for these), passports (a lot of money and time to get one), and then what about washing their clothes and everything else. This money that is being wasted for this trip can easily cover a semester at Muskegon Community College and all the books they would need too. Does a trip that takes place during spring break (when Europe's traveling fees are extremely low) need to cost people out of a further and better education? Oh, before you counter that about the traveling fee. My family all were apart of the military and they went all over so I actually know when the cost of Europe drops.

jvc

Thank you for serving our country.

jvc

Thank you for serving our country.

Lyla

I doubt it.

anotherchoirparent

You mention: If people can go, go. If not, don't.

The problem is that at the first meeting, it was stated that this was an "all or nothing" choice. If everyone didn't agree to do it, the trip would not happen. Mrs. Lemon also asked everyone to write the check for the down payment that night.

I was fully aware that her expectations on how much of the trip would be covered by donations and grants was overly ambitious and took this into account before paying my down payment.

Creedance

Look at that! The first valid argument! If that's truly the case, I would pursue that.

Lyla

Ah, and you just showed your Lemon like I didn't already know.

appleorchard

I have been replying to a few comments above but I just thought I would let people know a few things. As a former orchestra member (I graduated last year) I know that the music program is great and the teachers are wonderful, there is no denying that. BUT, I do agree with the tribune that this is way to ambitious. Since us seniors got cheated out of trip year because they moved it to this year (it is normally every 3 years for orchestra, normally to Disney World to do music workshops and concerts) we did get to go to NYC. I am not trying to be selfish or complaining because we did get a trip. But even the NY trip, there were still some students who couldn't go or couldn't afford it (it was way less than half the price of the Europe trip)- since then our group decreased in size, the price went up for the rest of us, luckily only by a little bit. My point here is, is that the Europe trip, which costs much more than NYC, is always going to be not affordable for some. This in turn is going to cause the price to go up even more! They should have picked a "smaller scale", maybe NYC (even though that isn't too small in my book). I know as for myself, and many of my fellow classmates that NYC was the coolest and most life changing experience ever. I know that Europe is awesome, but this is high school and as much as I love the teachers they should have kept that in mind when planning this trip. High school students simply can't afford $3200, and no one should make them or the community feel bad for not being able to go. I have no idea if people are making them feel guilty, but they shouldn't. Like I said, I love the music program, it changed my life all on its own- they are wonderful and life changing without taking an unnecessary expensive trip to Europe when, for most kids, a life changing experience can be found here in the United States. Sorry this is so long!

Myrtle Lemon

Hello. My name is Myrtle Lemon, I am a member of both Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir. Yes, I am Mrs. Lemon's daughter. She did not ask me to post this, this is my choice. I would like to clear the air for the good people of this community who are reading these posts and becoming confused by their jaded opinions. Think what you want of the trip, that it's too ambitious, that some families cannot pay, and that's alright. But I would like to present some facts from the point of view of a student who has been a part of this trip from the very beginning. We had an initial meeting, where all of the information was presented, including cost, fundraising ideas, and trip information. We were asked if we wanted to go and if there was any input from the parents. As a group, we decided to go for it! Some children and their families opted not to go, because of financial reasons or family problems, which was perfectly alright. The students who are going were never even informed of who was not. They chose not to go and that was the end of it. There was no public humiliation, no guilt tripping. In the Orchestra, the exact same scenario played out. Again, no guilt tripping, none of what's been stated on these comments. You may say what you want about me, about Megan, the people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, non-anonymously, but I have presented the facts for anyone who wishes to know what has really been going on in the reality of the choir and orchestra Europe Trip. Say what you want, that I'm lying or repeating what Mrs. Lemon has said, but proven facts are hard to disprove. The Tribune has a right to their opinion, I am entitled to mine, and you are entitled to yours. What isn't just and right are the personal attacks against the program, Mrs. Lemon and Mrs. Meyers. The things being said on these comments are perfectly untrue and disrespectful. I wanted to make sure that the community who reads this knows the whole story, and the facts of the trip. Thank you.

anonanon

If this is the case then why are present students in both orchestra and choir not only telling exactly what I say, but are posting it. I was a previous student of the orchestra and I know about getting money refunded if not able to go, however why is it that the parents who have paid some of the money and are wanting to be refunded not being refunded by your own mother. Listen to the students and parents who are posting because most of them want their money back and can not continue the payments. Myrtle you and I know each other and you would be shocked to know who I am.

Myrtle Lemon

Good to know we know each other. And good to know I could definitely realize who you were because you have the courage to post your name! Oh wait.....
If you are a Symphony member then grow a backbone and talk to Mrs. Meyers herself instead of reckless spewing on an Internet website and bullying others. Thank you for your opinions.

anotherchoirparent

Some of us must remain anonymous so that it does not get held against our kids in choir.

Also interesting that you are posting during the middle of the school day.

Megan MacLeod

If you feel the need to hid behind the mask of anonymity in order to post something on here that you would never say face-to-face, you shouldn't be posting at all.

anonanon

We want to keep ourselves hidden because we have either future students that are going into school, or we have current students. We do not want it reflecting poorly on them and the teachers taking aim at them. These people have to write to remain hidden, and also we have the choice. Until you learn and actually see what the world is, do not bother telling us what to do.

Megan MacLeod

That's what I'm saying! If you feel your opinion is going to harm someone, why would you say it at all? Hiding behind an anonymous name and spewing lies and hurtful things about Mrs. Lemon and her choirs is the most cowardice thing I could even imagine.

anonanon

Megan, have you read what the parents and students have been actually saying about the fact of what their children are going through? Before you go thinking you are the queen learn about how your peers are feeling and about what they are going through.

Megan MacLeod

Excuse you, but this has nothing to do with what my classmates are going through. If their parents have an issue with this trip, they need to step forward, face-to-face with Mrs. Lemon, and tell her how they feel and try to work something out. But instead, they find comfort in anonymously bashing Mrs. Lemon and her students on this stupid page.

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