District 214 students explore creativity via arts pathways
District 214 students get to explore their creativity via the arts pathways
From belting out solos in show choir competitions to making an audience roar with laughter at an improv show, recent John Hersey High School graduate Theo Brown has explored his passion through the Performing Arts Career Pathways offered by Northwest Suburban High School District 214.
"The programs I've participated in are very beneficial," said Brown, who credits his various arts experiences with his decision to pursue a degree in musical theater at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston.
"It's such a great family and place to feel welcome and bring stories and music to the audiences."
District 214 offers several Performing Arts and Visual Arts pathways to prepare students for the diverse opportunities in creative industries. Careers can range from acting, stage management, art or photography and commercial and industrial design to teaching.
"If we can help students develop their creativity in an organized and professional way, then the opportunities and careers in the arts are endless," said Buffalo Grove High School's Fine and Performing Arts co-coordinator Elizabeth Bennett, who used her network to implement artist presentations during lunch hours, so students have the chance to hear what it means to create a resume as a professional in the field.
Other teachers have taken similar approaches, with an eye on ensuring students know their career options. Diane Rawlinson, a veteran dance teacher at Wheeling High School, has provided students with unparalleled experiences, including touring established Chicago studios and renowned theaters to learn the ins and outs of arts administration -- an opportunity for those interested in managing a theater or gallery.
Some schools, including Buffalo Grove and Prospect, feature student-managed galleries to display the work of students, alumni and professionals. Separately, an annual all-district summer musical creates roles that include technical designers, directing assistants and marketing publicists in addition to performers.
The summer musical, this year running July 12-14, also allows students the opportunity to earn dual credit from Eastern Illinois University by attending a weekly course.
A theme throughout these pathways is leadership. Many students work individually with professional artists on visual pieces or with professional musicians to compose music. Whether designing and building sets, directing plays or arranging music compositions for others to perform, student leadership is at the core of arts education in the district.
The district's Fine Arts Pathway insists there is endless opportunities for students driven to work in the arts field, with student exposure to an extensive list of classes, clubs, exhibits, performances and personalized education, including private instruction.
The district's fine arts career adviser places students in internships in the industry to further explore opportunities including technical theater, music, performance and business.
"Exposure to art-based careers outside of high school can completely change a student's perspective on the job options in the real world," District 214 Fine and Performing Arts coordinator Jeremy Morton said.
"Our staff does an excellent job finding students' talents and passions. While encouraging them to grow, they also provide a plethora of opportunities to explore the arts -- whether that is through performance, direction, marketing, creation or technical skills -- and related careers."
About this series, and how you can helpThis story is part of a 16-week series looking at Northwest Suburban High School District 214's Career Pathways program.
To join District 214's Career Pathways effort as an internship host, career mentor or classroom speaker, contact Barb Kain in the Teaching and Learning Department, firstname.lastname@example.org. To support the program financially through a sponsorship, early career credentials or college credits for students, naming or other contribution, contact Erin Brooks with the District 214 Education Foundation, email@example.com.