I hope it's better now. It is so hard for some people to see the value of arts & music education because the immediate rewards are virtually non-existent. The euphoric high of accomplishing a public performance as part of a team after months of work... the discipline required to grind it out in hours of practice... the camaraderie of fellow musicians... none of that translates particularly well to a report card, and it can't be tracked with a state test, so it's easy for school boards to overlook it's political value to their own districts. And of course, there's virtually no money in it.
As more is learned about the development of young minds - and brains - I'm hopeful that the importance of music education will become more apparent. Music education provides a mathematical continuity that is applied subconsciously to a broad range of cognitive functions. For all the talk of musicians being right-brained spirits than most people can't relate to, at music's very root and center is the beautiful simplicity of math. If you can successfully guide a young musician down the road of basic understanding of what they are doing and accomplishing when they plod through an elementary arrangement of a classic, they will find little in life that they cannot achieve.
I don't want to leave people with the impression that it was all gloom and doom in 505 during those years. The friendships, memories, and positive feelings that have always flowed through Millikan's music department were there every single day, and hopefully always will be for all students to take with them in their lifetimes.
I took inspiration from the other essays that appear on MillikanAlumni.com, and I'm hoping that others will contribute their memories to build a reference point for alumni, students, and anyone who cares to get a broad range of first-hand accounts of what our lives & surroundings were really like while we walked the blue & gold halls; the good, the bad, and the ugly. After all, if we don't remember the tough stuff along with the joy, chances are good those who come after us won't have an accurate reference point to appreciate what they have now, or how to make it better.