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Our opinion: Uniontown actor points to great need

Marengo County has several national success stories, from movie stars to professional athletes to politicians.

Tony Cox, an actor who grew up in Uniontown, is but one example. However, his background points to a great need in rural Alabama.

Cox grew up with a love for music and entertaining. He wanted to study music, become a musician and tour. But there was one problem &8212; neither his high school or the college he sought to attend had band or music programs at the time.

That was several decades ago, and today things have improved drastically. Most colleges have either band

or choral programs that meet the need of many students.

However, rural high schools still struggle to offer solid performing arts programs. Small class sizes and a lack of funding are often the culprits where such programs are nonexistent.

But giving students of rural schools the opportunity to take part in performing arts programs does not mean each school has to have a yearlong offering.

The state, along with local foundations and private interests, should look at forming more grant opportunities that allow for plays, musical instruction and band workshops to be offered in a school or district for the term of a semester.

Such programs, which exist on a small scale already, can whet the appetites of students eager to tap into their creative nature. Some, such as Cox, might go on to great things.