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Natalie Khamis

Period 4/Gold/Streisel

March 23, 2019

Word Count: 506

Viola Lives Matter

Students lose passion for extracurricular activities, result of pressures of maintaining CHS’


After almost six years of playing the viola, over 20 concerts I have performed in and

countless hours of practicing later, I can confidently say orchestra holds a special place in my

heart. From receiving my first piece of sheet music to performing a whole symphony, that place

in my heart grew and my love for the orchestra program became stronger.

Over the years, the orchestra program has shaped me as a person in many ways. I have

met some of my closest friends through the orchestra program, in which we spend every Tuesday

night from 6 to 9 p.m. and every Thursday after school from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. making music and

memories. My taste in music has also significantly changed. Who needs the wild fire-spitting

tracks of Travis Scott when you can listen to the sweet melodies of Tchaikovsky?

But most of all, my orchestra class is a time where I can leave the weight of all my

classes at the entrance of P100. I look forward to orchestra every day because I know that for 90

minutes, I can forget about all of the stresses accumulating in my mind.

At least, I used to.

Being able to play in the Symphony orchestra— one of the top orchestras in the state —

is an amazing experience, but it also places a lot of pressure on the musicians to keep up that
reputation. Each rehearsal and practice session seems like a chore rather than a time to fulfill our

passions of playing music. While concerts used to be a thrilling experience, it seems that now us

musicians feel a sense of relief after the last note is played — the weight of maintaining this

school’s “superior” reputation lifted off of our shoulders.

This culture of being the best at everything isn’t only observed within the performing arts

department. Basketball championships, Science Olympiad invitationals, DECA competitions —

the stresses of preparing for events like these can be suffocating to those who take part in them.

We are told that winning isn’t everything— that we should strive to be the best athlete, musician

or debator we can be— but in reality, we often only strive to do our best because we want to be

the best, not because we are passionate about what we want to accomplish.

For every school, first place is the goal. At CHS however, we are so used to claiming the

top spot in any competition or event that we enter, we have become greedy. This culture places

an immense amount of pressure on students and we start to lose sight of why we started doing

the things that makes CHS great. We start to not care about the hobbies or activities we cared

about in the past.

In order to bring back the excitement and love for any club, sport or activity, we must

strive to reduce the culture of superiority that CHS embraces. Winning is great, but it’s not worth

it if everyone isn’t truly interested in the activity itself.