Round Lake Area Unit District 116 will showcase at least 500 students with talent in fine arts as part of what officials say is a continuing effort to generate school system pride and connect with the community.
District 116's inaugural Fine Arts Extravaganza is set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center. Tickets cost $5 for the show, which will be a fundraiser to launch a private educational foundation linked to the district so it may contribute money to school programs.
Superintendent Constance Collins said she's watched students who are talented in a variety of ways since coming to the district in 2011, but particularly in the fine arts. She said the show is a fitting way to kick off the newly established educational foundation.
"Our goal through this event is to expose the many talents of our students to the community, county and area at large," Collins said. "We want to show off what we have to offer at (the district)."
District 116 spokeswoman Heather Bennett said the show also will serve to celebrate the return of a fine arts curriculum in the current school season for pupils in first through fifth grades as part of a restructuring meant to improve academic performance.
Fine arts and other programs were trimmed when a school finance authority appointed by the Illinois State Board of Education controlled District 116 from 2002 through 2010. District 116 was near collapse because of its poor financial condition when the panel received the oversight powers.
"Now that we're headed in the right direction, we'd like to bring back some of the programs that were cut over the years," Bennett said.
At least 500 students from all nine schools will participate in the Fine Arts Extravaganza, Bennett said. They'll be in dance, small group vocals, duets and more on the performing arts side, with paintings, drawings and three-dimensional paper sculptures among the offerings on the visual end.
The need to create school pride often arises in discussion by a student committee that addresses district issues. Bennett said it's hoped the Fine Arts Extravaganza will be a step in that direction.
"We have to do a better job of highlighting the student talent in this district," she said.
At the end of the evening, awards will be distributed in categories including best individual performance, most creative and best technological display. The show's theme is "The Face of Excellence Through the Arts."
Collins said she expects the Fine Arts Extravaganza will become an annual event for District 116. Tickets are available at all schools and the administrative service center, 316 S. Rosedale Court in Round Lake.