How The Arts Influence BBHHS


Photo Credits: Andy Hansen, Emily Garlock, & Mary Shaffer

Nicola Yaussy and Nic Trybus

“My music class has given me an outlet to channel my creative expression and display raw emotion to the audience. Other classes are so left-brained that it gives you little opportunity to express something that isn’t black and white,” said Kaite Whitehead, a senior at Brecksville Broadview Heights High School (BBHHS).


The arts are not for everyone, but for most of the student body at BBHHS, art and music might just be more important than football. 

Although a lot of students at BBHHS enjoy participating in sports, physical activities like these aren’t for everyone. Students at BBHHS have the opportunity to decompress, express themselves, and push their creative thinking through art programs.

Fine arts have always been a statement piece at Brecksville Broadview Heights schools, allowing students to take classes from Jazz Ensemble to Art History that give them something to look forward to during the day. 

“I used to dread waking up in the morning and going to school. Transferring schools and the addition of Ceramics, I find myself not wanting to miss a day of school,” said Alexis Krzynowek.

Through the arts, many students at BBHHS feel that having a creative outlet has helped them improve their health, both mentally and physically. “Being in choir has tremendously improved my mental health because I’ve had the space where I know I can be myself and have somewhere where I can relax and de-stress,” Alex Leverenz, a Junior at BBHHS remarked.

“It [the arts] can be a de-stressor in the day allowing you to isolate yourself from anxieties and just enjoy yourself in whatever you are creating.” said Calix Zukaucaks a Junior at BBHHS. 

By giving students a place to create they are improving the wellbeing of students using something they enjoy instead of turning to negative life altering outlets.  

Even the teachers at BBHHS find a significant importance in their students’ mental and physical health. Mrs. Garlock, the choral music teacher at BBHHS says, “It [art classes] gives you a place during the school to let your brain breathe. It’s different from core classes; it uses a different part of your brain. Music classes, fine arts courses, and physical education have scientifically proven to use both sides of your brain on a regular basis.”  When teachers show compassion towards their students it makes them want to be in their classes.

Taking fine arts classes also helps students of all backgrounds relax during their typical school day. Labiba Ibnath, a junior stated, “Those [art classes] are the classes I can use to unwind and not worry while mentally preparing myself for my AP and honors classes, which are pretty stressful.”

Other students, such as  Audino, a junior at BBHHS, like to use art to express themselves. “I use emotion in the art I create in order to help me cope with hard times as well as express myself in ways I may not be able to verbalize,” Audino said. 

When students engage in creative activities, they have the opportunity to explore their emotions and thoughts in a healthy way, as well as express themselves in unique ways, and develop a sense of individuality.

Having outlets is also a requirement in adulthood. Mr. Hansen, who teaches art foundations, graphic design, intermediate art, advanced art, AP 2D, AP 3D, and AP Photo at BBHHS, also says, “I have fewer outlets where I don’t do sports and school related activities so art has become more important to me.”  Because he made the decision to make art a constant in his life, Hansen has used it as one of his most significant outlets ever since he was a young child.

Even though a lot of students thrive in different classes, a lot of students at BBHHS enjoy taking art classes that allow them to have “open and free to outside the box thinking and creative expression,” according to Toby Kirby, a junior at BBHHS The arts at BBHHS allow students to be able to think in a different way compared to other academic classes. 

According to Michael Posner, PhD, and Brenda Patoine, in an article for the Dana Foundation, “focused training in any of the arts strengthens the brain’s attention system, which in turn can improve cognition more generally.” The Dana Foundation proves that the arts can also provide a place to exert excess energy that can make some classes difficult while also improving students’ attention span.  “Being in men’s choir last year really helped me burn energy so I could actually focus,“ said Timothy Hawkins, a sophomore at BBHHS.

Hansen claims that even teachers need time to unwind. “I had a lot of outlets: I did sports, I did art, I had a lot of activities I was involved in so it [art] was just another fun thing for me to do to make a happy childhood out of me.” Hansen needed the outlets he had to be able to function in his youth.

“Art classes have given me a family of people that are interested in art and that I’m excited to see every day to check out what new creativity they’re expressing”, stated Wayne Louis. The arts have affected BBH in the most positive way, giving students the opportunity to create without restriction with the support of teachers and other students.


Posner, M. I., & Patoine, B. (2019, September 9). How arts training improves attention and cognition. Dana Foundation. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from