Arts help students reveal character, father says

Stelly's parent says performance arts helped three of his daughters develop self-confidence

Arts involvement in youth can help build a better person, says one performing arts dad.

Ron Broda points to examples of successful people such as prominent B.C. businessman Jim Pattison, who is known for his trumpet and piano playing, and the late Jack Layton, former leader of the NDP party, who was known to perform music and songs during gatherings.

“All these successful people in all walks of life have some arts involvement,” Broda said. “The skills the kids learn are transferable in so many areas.”

Self-esteem, self-worth and teamwork are among the skills learned in performing arts, from onstage work to behind the scenes.

“They foster self confidence, creativity and team work and require attention to detail, risk taking, goal setting, organization and perseverance; all this helps students stay focused in school and are lifelong skills,” said Jan Heinrichs, music director at Stelly’s secondary school.

Heinrichs has seen many a student cross the stage from vocal jazz performances to the large senior musical theatre production each year at Stelly’s.

On a personal level, Broda has seen his three daughters grow and bloom through performance at Stelly’s secondary. The youngest, 17-year-old Shayla, graduates this year and provides a prime example of what theatre can help a student reveal about him or herself. Following in the footsteps of her two older sisters, she joined theatre.

“She was shy. … She’d be like a statue on stage and she didn’t look like she was having fun. Now she’s a social butterfly,” Broda said.

Shayla has participated in many productions on stage, as part of the stage crew and sometimes both. She sees performing arts in general as a team building activity that teaches empathy.

“It’s not just an outlet for kids, it teaches about the importance of everyone around you,” she said. “You pull it off together or you don’t pull it off at all.”

Ron Broda is one of a handful of community residents gauging support for what they see as a much-needed dedicated theatre facility at Stelly’s secondary.

“Imagine a world without music. Imagine a world without drama,” Broda said. “We owe it to our kids and future generations to help them live up to their potential.”