On March 8, 2015 the Westwood Regional School District received recognition as one of the best communities for music education. This honor was given to the music program by a foundation called The NAMM (National Association for Music Merchants) Foundation, which “celebrates and promotes the intrinsic value of music education.”
NAMM was founded in 2006 and represents the music industry. This foundation is funded by donations and trade association activities. Its purpose is so that music is recognized as a key for learning as well as a key to the community.
Westwood’s music department applied for the recognition in the fall which consisted of a wide range of questions about the department from kindergarten to grade 12. Over 2,000 districts apply for this honor and only about 388 receive it. “I want people to know how huge of an honor and recognition this is for our school,” says Karen Forgione, Supervisor of Visual, Performing and Related Arts in the Westwood Regional School District.
James Lawrence, band director at Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School, compares Westwood’s music department to those of others schools by stating the fact that Westwood’s program is very well-rounded–everything and everyone is equally strong. “I think receiving this will pay off with helping the community to recognize and learn more about our successful music program in the district,” says Lawrence.
Michelle Sontag, choir director at WRHS hopes that more students will take part in the music program at Westwood, especially because of the recognition.“I hope more people will enroll in the choir program to experience music in their life, music is for everybody and should be available to everybody.”
Westwood’s music program is important to the school and all who take part in it. This is a factor as to why the award is considered such a huge honor. Forgione says, “All the teachers, students and parents work very hard for our music program. The whole point of this award is not to recognize one piece of the puzzle, it’s to recognize the whole community: parents, teachers administration–everybody,”