There has been a long-fought debate over just how much support schools should give to their arts programs.

It is often believed that sports are more important than things such as choir and theater. However, is it really fair to dedicate more time and money to sports than the arts?

Some people will say yes, and some no, but I am here to explain why funding these departments is equally valuable.

Growing up, I tried just about every sport you can think of. Soccer, softball, swimming… you name it. None of these things ever really felt right to me, they were just all-around not enjoyable.

Even at such a young age, I felt bombarded with the pressure to fit in with my peers. Everyone around me had found something they liked to do, or at least, that was what it felt like at the time.

Suddenly, when it felt like I would never have a place to belong, the lucky moment arrived. I can recall it vividly: I was 7 years old, sitting in the back of my mom’s car. My mother made a phone call that day, unknowingly signing me up for the hobby that was soon going to consume my free time. It was then that she informed me that she had signed me up for dance class, and as the years passed, I began spending more and more time in the studio.

Seven years later, I’m still training, but in recent years, middle school came with some intriguing revelations. My school life and dance life were completely divided, and I had two different sets of friends. During the school day, I occasionally found myself wishing that the girls I danced with attended the same school as me, but sadly, they didn’t. To make it worse, nobody in my classes really appreciated dancing or theater.

Often I refused to speak up about my interest in the topics, for fear of being ridiculed. After trudging through those tough times, I am ecstatic to be heading to high school. The school I will be attending offers a dance program, one that I auditioned for and got accepted into. A large portion of my excitement for my high school years comes from the fact that I will be able to dance during the day, and be able to combine my hobbies and academic interests.

What do you think would happen if the school pulled its support from the program? Essentially, it would no longer be able to give me the chance to do what I love doing.

To put things into perspective, there are hundreds of kids like me just in my county, who find no joy in sports, and only care for the arts. If you eradicate that, then you have millions of miserable kids in the United States alone. For some teenagers, this is all they have, and that’s precisely why we need the fine arts.