The Long Island High School for the Arts has been a lighthouse for especially talented students whose major interests are arts, music, theater and dance -- and more recently science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the STEM program ["Help BOCES fulfill its mission," Editorial, March 18].
There is no program on Long Island that can replace this; local school districts do not have the experience, curriculum or staff.
The 2013-14 budget to operate both the arts and science programs was just $2.1 million. BOCES has been notorious for huge administrative overhead. The present administration surely can part with a few administrators.
Every year, the school's graduates receive between $8 million and $10 million in scholarships and grants, and 98 percent go on to continue their education. It would represent a sad lack of vision and lapse of judgment to allow this treasured program to perish.
Dennis A. Bengels, Garden City
Editor's note: The writer is the parent of a former LIHSA student.
I graduated from the Long Island High School for the Arts in 2010 as a dance major. I have since gone on to earn a bachelor's degree in dance from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and have become a professional dancer.
Many people are unaware of the profound effect this school has on its students. It goes beyond your wildest imagination and lies deeper than just outward success.
Success doesn't just come from luck, or books or training either. It comes from people. It comes from hearts. It comes from willpower and passion and a fire inside you. But I'm not saying that LIHSA puts that fire in there. No, I'm saying it shows you that you have it.
Heather Conn, Locust Valley
I find it unacceptable that school districts won't consider cutting other BOCES schools. Many of the children they send there are behavioral problems.
A child like my daughter, who is smart and works incredibly hard in and out of school, is having her program threatened because the school districts don't see the value in promoting it.
Why do we continue as a society to choose mediocrity over success?
Marge Pietrera, Baldwin
I am a 10th-grade student in Plainview-Old Bethpage. I just started this school this year after transferring from a private school that was creatively stifling. This year has been intense for me. I went from having 13 people in my grade to 20 in each class.
The thing that got me up and moving was the promise that next year I would be somewhere with kids who understood my passion for theater, who wanted to perform, who never wanted to stop performing.
Every person I've met who goes to the high school for the arts told me it was something I should do, and I would be the better for it. Just when it seemed my dream would come true, I felt like the future I had worked for was going to come crashing down.
Schuyler Young, Plainview
When I was 15, I struggled with depression. The only thing that I enjoyed was theater, so I applied to the drama program at Long Island High School for the Arts and got in.
Because of this school, I was empowered to choose my own path and take steps toward my goal. Regular high schools simply don't have the ability to give artistic students the same support.
Samantha Prosser, Bayville