Acting Up: Fundraiser works to fight hunger

Cristo Rey students, their families, teachers and staff played a leading role in alleviating hunger through a combined theater and Empty Bowls production held Nov. 17 and 18, 2017.

Bringing the spirit of Christmas to life, students raised almost $1,300 to benefit the Holy Family Food Pantry in Waukegan. Student thespians performed Humbug by John Wooten, a re-telling of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with a modern day twist. The premier performance Friday included an Empty Bowls soup dinner theater and on Saturday an ice cream theater. The event was hosted and orchestrated by teachers Elizabeth Partenach and Jacob Larson.

“It is great to see the continued growth of our arts program,” said principal Mike Odiotti.

The event continues efforts to integrate arts, theater and caring into a CRSM education even though CRSM does not offer art as part of the daily curriculum. For the past couple years, students have been able to explore various art mediums through partnerships with local art studios, volunteers, and even an alumna sharing their time and talent.

In addition to the theater and Empty Bowls, teacher Andrea Velazquez, CRSM science teacher, last year pioneered efforts to offer art classes on weekends to allow more students the opportunity to create their own art, explore career opportunities in the arts, and give back to the community through their artistic talents. Initially the goal was to prepare for a fine arts exhibition, but the program has expanded and is not only achieving its goals, but also providing a positive outlet for students struggling at school, work or at home.

Since August of 2016, students have participated in Saturday art classes at Ceramics for You in Gurnee in partnership with studio owner, Tracy Schultz. Students have explored ceramics, clay, painting and even glass fusing through these courses.

This year, the studio came to the CRSM cafegymatorium at lunch for students, staff and faculty to paint their Empty Bowls fundraiser contributions at lunch.