Athens performing arts overlooked as sports steal the spotlight


Photos by Emma Dale

Pictured above are a few of the many trophies earned by the Athens Drive Band being displayed in the band room. Though they represent success, they sit on the shelf collecting dust with no recognition.

The announcements come on once again, the chattering of students comes to a slow, the student council meeting… the basketball game… and nothing. No congratulations to the band for winning first place in last week’s major competition. No announcements about the upcoming theater production. The morning announcements rarely include all aspects of extracurriculars. 

The Athens Drive band has won a copious amount of competitions since the year the school was built in 1978 and yet there are very few announcements, social media posts, or even events to celebrate their accomplishments. The band practices almost every day for months to entertain the student body and compete in competitions. Many of the students in the band have to keep up with this schedule, while also having to maintain grades in hard classes, and attend out-of-school duties. But with all the hard work, comes almost no recognition.

It wasn’t always like this. In the 19th century, when sports were not quite as popular, artistic events received a great deal of press coverage.  To be recognized in society, you had to be an informed patron of the arts,” said Dr. Jerry Markoch, ADMHS Band Director.

Dr. Markoch explained that in order to appreciate the arts, people have to try. People must expand their horizons and use their imagination rather than only attend “popular appeal” events. He explains that in order to change this society, we should start by introducing it to the next generation, and allow them to explore the beauty and culture of the arts. In 2019, Athens was honored to send six of our students to participate in the All-State band, one of the biggest accomplishments a student in the band can be awarded. And in 2016 Athens had a record-breaking season. They were named Grand Champions in three out of five of the season’s marching band competitions.

“There will be hundreds of high school students performing their hearts out on a Saturday evening [at a band showcase], with hundreds of parents in attendance and there is no press coverage. Yet, a small little football game down the road will get pages of coverage,” said. Markoch.

It is not undermining the acknowledgment of sporting events to also acknowledge that of the arts.  Exposure will create popularity within the community, and it will make more people show up and/or be excited about what is being presented online.

Any extracurricular activity should have maximum exposure  ”

— Tommy Smith, Head Football Coach

Both Coach Smith and Dr. Markoch agree that the exposure of anything school-related will give an overall buy-in and will allow people to find interest in things that they might not have even heard of before. People being interested in activities others work so hard on can create school spirit and a sense of unity throughout the entire student body.

I and many others can sympathize with the heartache of working months on a project, just for the announcements to do one short announcement on it and only direct family members and a few friends of the production to show up. The creation process of the production is a beautiful and laughter-filled experience, and it’s not exactly fun when it’s overlooked by a football game. By virtue of the importance of highlighting all extracurriculars, it is important to also fight against a voice saying that we should stop celebrating sports. Sports are great and it’s amazing to see the unity in teams and the determination of individuals competing to be the best. I would like to see all students being recognized for the work that they do and have equal praise for equal work put in.