Petition's Progress: Tri-M Chapters Collect Thousands of Signatures in MENC Contest

MENC announced the first and second place winners in its Tri-M® Petition and Change Drive Contest.

Challenged by MENC, Tri-M student members collected signatures on the “Petition for Equal Access to Music Education” and spare change for the “Change Drive to Change Education.”

Both initiatives are part of the “Three Ways to Change Music Education … for the Better!” campaign sponsored by MENC to raise awareness of the importance of supporting school music programs.

The petition asks Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the new Obama administration to remember that music is as important as any other subject. Change collected in the change drive will be used to support MENC’s music education advocacy programs.

The signed Petitions for Equal Access to Music Education will be presented to Department of Education officials at the Rally for Music Education on June 18 at noon at the Department of Education. Music educators, students, family members, and all school music supporters are invited to this event, part of Music Education Week in Washington.

In the contest, 33 Tri-M chapters submitted collected petitions, collecting 9796 petition signatures.

The first place winner was the Danbury (Conneticut) High School Tri-M chapter. The chapter collected 838 signatures. Their advisor, music teacher Susan McKenzie, explained, “Our chapter wanted one last community service project for the end of the year as we were putting together our scrapbook for Chapter recognition. The petition change drive contest was announced and our officers decided we would participate. We made copies of the petition and lines for 200 hundred signatures. We made 12 packets to send out into the community and we offered a prize for the student who collected the most signatures. We decided we would make a solid effort for two days and set a goal of collecting 1,000 signatures.

“We didn’t quite make our goal,” she continued, “but we did create a flurry of activity — and nearly everyone we spoke to wanted to sign the petition. We also donated small change that was collected. This proactive stance was our way of letting the community know that students and faculty don’t want any cuts in our music program and we want to continue and grow this area at Danbury High School.

“Tri-M students felt very strongly that all students should be required to study at least one music course during their high school years. Being an advocate for this program inspires our students to be their best and perform at their best levels. They continue to demonstrate their leadership through advocating for the music programs at Danbury High School,” conculded McKenzie.

The Tri-M chapter at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, VA was the second place winner with 773 signatures collected. The advisor is music teacher Timothy Rossettini.

The Tri-M Music Honor Society is an MENC program that rewards music students for achievement in music, other subjects, and community service. MENC President Barbara L. Geer praised the activism of the Tri-M chapters, saying, “Congratulations to all chapter members who participated in this exciting project.  I am very pleased to see that our young members recognize the importance of music education in our nation by being part of something that can motivate, educate, and inspire them to higher musical achievement.”

The paper petition deadline is Friday, May 15. Members are enccouraged to send signed paper petitions to The National Center for Music Education, 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191, postmarked by May 15.

MENC asks members who have not done so to sign the online Petition for Equal Access to Music Education and to ask others do do so as well. The petition is available in an easy-to-share electronic format. MENC members and friends of music education can help MENC reach its goal of one million signatures to present at the June 18 rally.  If each MENC member signs the petition and gets just 19 other signatures, the association will exceed its goal of 1,000,000 signatures. Online petition signatures will be accepted until June 18.

Read the MENC Press Release

To read about petition efforts around the country, visit the MENC News Stand Archive and view “Petition’s Progress” articles.

Roz Fehr, May 14, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education