Visitors to my office are quick to note the incredible student artwork I have gracing the walls. Upon closer inspection, there is also “Jag” clothing and memorabilia from my years of rooting for FJA’s teams and coaching cross country. Arts and sports are two, often overlooked and underappreciated, co-curricular educational experiences.
Grades and academic achievement are an important part of FJA’s mission, but sports and arts represent a well-founded and authentic form of education and assessment. Athletes and artists must study technique, improve their form, identify challenges and ultimately perform. Student artists and athletes demonstrate mastery of skills and knowledge by producing engaging performances, creating visually meaningful artifacts, and executing successful offensive or defensive enterprises against determined opponents.
While academic studies often require students to look outward and incorporate the world of knowledge into the bank of what students know and the repertoire of what they can do, arts and athletics require students to look inward. Athletes focus on how they can contribute to a team, to excel at one position and struggle at another, to support teammates who fail, to accept loss and recover from setbacks. Artists transform a medium through deep reflection and intuition. Performers make a role their own, sculptors animate forms with feelings and sentiments, and visual artists cast colors and shapes into creative interpretations of reality.
If you had the privilege of catching one of our three performances of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!” or music ensemble during Evening of the Arts, if you walk our halls and take in the student art adorning our walls and showcases, if you catch one of our winter sports (whether it’s basketball or bowling, debate or quiz bowl), you will witness students exercising their creative muscles, exhibiting athleticism and, most significantly, learning as much about themselves as they do about the world around them. Our students compete with confidence and compassion, and express themselves with the self awareness and assurance that is fostered in the classrooms, art rooms, stage, and playing fields of FJA’s nurturing and supportive environment.