The Summer Culture Club: Teachers and students seek high adventure

The question, “What did you do for your summer vacation” reverberated through the halls of CRSM these first weeks back at school as teachers and students recounted their tales of significant travel and educational adventures. From climbing Machu Picchu in Peru, to drumming circles, to college campuses and the golf course, each story was more exciting than the next.

On the academic front, several teachers, including Jon Taus and Darline Gonzalez-Alonso worked towards their master’s degrees. Taus, a U.S. Government and History teacher, completed his thesis “A High Pitch of Race Hatred: The Lynching of William Bell and the State of Early Twentieth-Century Black-Jewish Relations in Chicago.”  He will be earning an MA in Humanities with a U.S. History Emphasis from Adams State University. And science teacher and CRSM alumna, Gonzalez-Alonso earned her Master of Science from DePaul University.

Students toured university campuses across the country including Barnard, Stanford and Skidmore, and participated in academic enrichment courses at Georgetown, Marquette and John Marshall law school.

“I did a total immersion program at Georgetown where we did everything from attend international law lectures to dissect rats in the laboratory,” says senior Ranee.

Other students spent their summer “break” working nine-to-five in corporate America.

“People don’t believe it when I say I worked full-time at the Walgreens corporate headquarters,” says Chloe, a senior.

Dominique, a senior, and Jessica, a junior, spent every day, except Mondays, for seven weeks on the golf course as participants of the Western Golf Association Caddie Academy. “It’s so much fun and it teaches all of the girls to be independent,” says Dominique. “Being away from our families for so long allows us to be a family with each other and truly grow new life-long friends.”

On the travel/cultural front, English and music teacher Elizabeth Partanech took a week-long “Drumming Around the World” workshop in Milwaukee in June. Recently, the school received a grant to launch a music program. She’s now teaching drumming to seniors. But she says “I was woefully inept” the first night, when she showed up at the conference and the teachers encouraged her to join the African and Caribbean music circle. It is great to see our teachers getting outside of their comfort zone and learning just as much as our students in the summer!

Additionally, math and science teacher KumKum Bonnerjee and Spanish teacher Patricia Ferrer traveled to Colombia and Peru this summer for hiking and sightseeing adventures.