Stagg High School Receives National Recognition

Stagg High School Receives National Recognition
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Stagg High School Receives National Recognition

Stagg High School has been honored with the SupportMusic Merit Award from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

The SupportMusic Merit Award recognizes individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the SupportMusic Merit Award, Stagg High School answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music-making programs, Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

This award recognizes that Stagg High School is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides policy implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

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The Stagg High School Symphonic Band recently performed at the Wentz Concert Hall at Northern Illinois University under the direction of Bob Mecozzi

The Stagg High School Symphonic Band recently performed at the Wentz Concert Hall at Northern Illinois University under the direction of Bob Mecozzi

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children that in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

“Music is not only important in school, but is a vital part of human life,” said Stagg High School Band Director Bob Mecozzi. “We listen to and study music in schools because it fosters an imaginative, creative approach to self-expression. Because of this, music has a remarkably important role in the life of a high school student. Music provides them a chance to emotionally communicate to themselves and to others, and to express those emotions in an appropriate manner.”

The Stagg Music Department currently offers three band courses, two percussion ensembles five choir courses, two guitar courses, music technology and business and a music theory sequence for academic credit.  In addition, there are several co-curricular offerings in the band and choir departments for students, such as the Marching Chargers, Jazz Ensemble, Business Casual A Capella Choir, and Madrigals, to name a few.

You can hear members of the music department at the Finale Choir Concert in the Stagg Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 PM and at the Finale Band Concert on Thursday, May 16 at 7 PM.

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

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His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.

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