For the past eight years, Urban’s rules have prohibited students who play spring sports from participating in the annual One Acts Festival. Not only are students with an existing athletic commitment forbidden from auditioning for One Acts, those who leave their sport in order to participate are barred from that sport. Urban wants students to pursue their interests regardless of whether they’re artistic, athletic, or both; the school’s core values include celebrating the “abundant possibilities for intellectual growth and personal achievement” of high school. Additionally, the school has both a physical activity and art class requirement for every student.
However, fencers, swimmers, and members of the track team are all allowed to participate in One Acts. In recent years, tennis and softball players have also been allowed to audition. The rationale for allowing students who fence, swim or run track to audition seems to rely on those sports being more individual, but the argument falls apart when the school lets students who play softball participate in One Acts. A newsroom or band are just as collaborative and time sensitive as a sport. In these other cases, Urban allows students to explore multiple interests at once. E period commitments like Yearbook, Newspaper or Jazz Band have little to no conflict with sports or theater, and it’s even possible to schedule Winter or Fall Production rehearsals around students’ other commitments.
Furthermore, One Acts rehearsals are more flexible than many other co-curricular activities; rehearsal can take place during T periods, lunches, after school and even weekends.
One Act directors are seniors with experience handling Urban’s scheduling processes. For a school that prides itself on the independence of its students, Urban is struggling to allow students to pursue their individual interests through high school in the case of One Acts and sports. The current policy is unfair and against Urban’s core values, and the administration would do well to change it for future years.