Muses member Lucy Hughes releases online petition


Pictured is the online petition. Muses member Lucy Hughes created this petition, hoping to change the fine arts requirement for a cappella members.

Sophomore Lucy Hughes created a petition to change the a cappella requirement at WHS. The school currently requires students who participate in a cappella to take a fine arts class. In less than a day, over 100 people have signed the petition.

Hughes is a member of the Muses, WHS’ female a cappella group. Earlier this year, she wrote an opinion article for WSPN in opposition to the requirement. Hughes’ petition, which was released on May 17, includes a letter to the WHS Fine Arts Department.

The letter first addresses “the problem” with the requirement. According to Hughes, the requirement limits the opportunity to take other electives for students who participate in a cappella.

“We note that no other extracurricular club is held to a similar curricular requirement. Whatever incremental value is added by requiring more and more fine-arts courses, at some point the advantage can be outweighed by the missed opportunities in not being able to follow electives in other non-fine-arts interests due to overly-booked schedules,” Hughes said in her petition.

The letter then addresses some possible revisions the rule could undergo. The first offers two tracks for a cappella members. Students can follow the requirement and receive school credit for the fine arts electives that they take, or students can follow an “audit” track and participate in the club without the requirement and gain of academic credit.

The second suggestion offers an alternate option in which those who do not wish to take an elective fulfill a different requirement. An example of this is a fine arts project, such as a final paper describing the student’s a cappella experience.

The final recommendation involves increasing the flexibility of the requirement, such as a decrease in the required eight semesters to three semesters. Additionally, if a student joins a cappella their sophomore or junior year, earlier years of participation in fine arts could go toward fulfilling the requirement.

All three revisions would work toward reducing the current requirement of taking a fine arts elective to allow a cappella students to take more of their desired classes. Hughes stated that these three revisions were not the only options and that many other routes could be taken.

The website used for the petition,, offers a comment section for signers to express their support. Past and present WHS students commented on the petition. Two WHS a cappella alumni expressed their support.

“This rule is exclusionary and purposeless,” Darby Douros, a past director of the Muses, commented.

Senior Sten Shearer also commented on the article, detailing his experience as a member of the Madrigals who was removed from the group when he did not take a fine arts elective.

The petition can be found here.