Central students fight proposed changes to music program


Photo Credit: District 203 Board of Education YouTube

Central junior Bianca Cima speaks at District 203’s Jan. 9 school board meeting.

Jake Pfeiffer, News Editor and Copy Editor

Three Naperville Central students spoke at a Jan. 9 school board meeting following a proposal to add a co-curricular requirement to District 203’s music extracurriculars. 

Juniors Athena Chen, Bianca Cima, and Nolan Shen were concerned when they heard about the changes administrators proposed at the last board meeting. 

“I thought it made no sense,” Cima said. “The problem they identified didn’t seem so big through a student lens and I thought that there are so many better ways [to fix it].”

The group watched the Dec. 19 board meeting, where the plan to introduce a lunchtime technique course and require extracurricular music students to join a music class was laid out.

“During [the meeting], we were kind of outraged by some of the comments these administrative staff [members] were making,” Chen said. “We immediately started writing emails, until we realized that it would be more effective to just directly speak at the next board meeting.”

The group was joined in speaking at the meeting by Naperville North junior Ian Rushing.

Multiple board members praised the group following their speeches, including member Charles Cush.

I continue to be proud of our students,” Cush said at the meeting. “If anyone has any question about the caliber of students that we develop here in [District 203], I would encourage them to listen to the comments of the four students who spoke this evening, and to just listen to the thoughtful and well-crafted and well-delivered comments that they presented.”

The students now plan to recruit more people to oppose the proposal.

“We’re really pushing for more people to join our cause, because right now it’s just the four of us,” Chen said. “The school board’s already heard our opinions, but we know there’s a lot of other people who share the same opinion. We’re encouraging people on social media to write emails to the board, [and trying] to get more community members involved.”

Despite disagreeing the proposal, Chen noted that the group doesn’t hold anything against the members of the team who formulated the plan.

“I think it’s really important to acknowledge the work of the administrative staff, I don’t want them to feel like it’s an ‘us versus them’ thing,” Chen said. “I know the reason they’ve worked so hard is because they want to make this a better decision for everyone, and their efforts are recognized and acknowledged.”

The board will vote on the measure at their meeting on Jan. 23.

“As long as people are going to use their voices and try to take action, the board might be swayed,” Cima said. “I felt like this whole situation, the affected party was not consulted and now that they are aware of it, it’s going to hopefully impact the board to make the right decision.”

For ongoing coverage of the proposed changes to District 203’s music program, follow the Central Times on Instagram and Twitter (@centraltimes).