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SHOUT OUT Cast Spotlight – Diane and Maria

DianeQuoteAs director and producer, Diane McFarlin and Maria Dripps-Paulson have over a gazillion years of experience in directing and producing Arts events.  Together, they have worked on shows as a part of the Kaneland High School Theatre Department and even more as the director – producer pair for Kaneland Arts Initiative events.  The list is lengthy, including performances such as Oklahoma!Little Shop of HorrorsMusic ManBye Bye Birdie, The Laramie Project, The Diary of Anne Frank.

When asked what makes them successful, the two share a smile and without hesitation say, “Respect.  Honesty.  Friendship.  A heavy dose of laughter, too.”  Besides serving as the outstanding Artistic Director for the Kaneland Arts Initiative, Diane is an assistant principal at Kaneland High School, while Maria serves as the Kaneland High School auditorium manager in addition to her work as executive director for KAI.  Both have families involved in the school district either as students or in other capacities and both live within the community as well.

MariaDrippsPaulsonQuoteThe concept of the SHOUT OUT! for education was born out of a performance that Maria did at Listen to Your Mother show.  Created by blogger, Ann Imig, the mission of each LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood–in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor–in the form of original readings performed live on-stage by their authors.  (from listentoyourmothershow.com) Maria performed in the Northwest Indiana LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER performance in May 2014, an event Diane attended to support her friend.  Even before the evening was over, Diane and Maria agreed that doing a similiar production with the topic of education would be equally powerful.

The first SHOUT OUT! for education was presented on November 17, 2014 in Kaneland, under the direction of Diane with producer, Maria.  Both Diane and Maria are thrilled to be presenting the performance again with a new cast on October 18th at 3pm.  They also would like to invite guests to attend a reception following in the auditorium lobby.

The SHOUT OUT! for education is the first performance of the 2015 – 2016 KAI season.  Click here to purchase ticket to SHOUT OUT and to check out the great new theatre subscription packages as well as the rest of the great season for KAI.

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SHOUT OUT Cast Spotlight – Caitrin Mills

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Caitrin Mills!

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Caitrin is 18 years old and a 2015 graduate of Kaneland High School.  She currently is a freshman at Waubonsee Community College, a Lucille Gustafson Scholar. She loves reading, watching TV, especially the Vlogbrothers, John (Looking for Alaska) and Hank (http://youngvlogbrothers.tumblr.com/), and is passionate about politics. So much so, that she is ecstatically looking forward to voting in her first presidential election in November 2016.  She also works part time at Town and Country Library in Elburn and hopes to be a sign language interpreter after college.

It was great to get to know Caitrin through these questions:

What is your educational background?  If you’re still in school, what grade/level are you at?   I’m halfway through my first semester at Waubonsee Community College, I graduated from Kaneland High School last May.

If you are not employed, what do you want to be when you grow up?   I’m currently working toward my Associates in Sign Language Interpretation. I hope to work in that field when I finish my degree.

What do you do for employment?   I work part time at Town and Country Public Library, where I am a page and do odd jobs for all the departments.

Do you have a favorite story (that you’re not telling for the SHOUT OUT) that happened to YOU during your education?  Winning the social studies senior award last year was an amazing honor. That was a wonderful night and a great memory.

Do you have any favorite teachers?  If so, why were they your favorite?  Javier Martinez, for teaching history with a passion that I really related to and appreciated, and for asking me “so what?”  Brian Kowalski, for giving me my first acting roles and my first solos, and for helping me out of my shell.   Patty Welker, for teaching me new ways to read and appreciate stories and writing, and for always being willing to talk.

What subject in school was your LEAST favorite and why?  Math. Numbers are confusing.

Who do you feel is the hardest working person in an educational system and why?  I think that everyone who works in the school system works incredibly hard. Everyone I’ve ever interacted with within this system has been incredibly dedicated and invested.

What teacher in your life would you like to hear from during a future KAI SHOUT OUT?  Mr. Martinez

Did you walk to elementary school or ride a bus?  Any funny memories?  I walked. Once there was a day that there was an awful blizzard so school was canceled, but Mom had volunteer work to do so we had to walk there anyway.

What excites you the most about education?  Opportunities to learn more about people and the world.

We are excited to hear Caitrin on Sunday, October 18th, read Learning to Learn.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE SHOUT OUT!

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SHOUT OUT Cast Spotlight – Peter Lopatin

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Our next spotlight …. PETER LOPATIN!

  • What is your educational background? If you’re still in school, what grade/level are you at?  I graduated from Princeton High School, George Washington University (BA) and Boston University (MBA)
  • If you are already employed, what do you do?  I have worked in healthcare most of my professional career – often in strategic planning, business development, and operations. I am currently a Product Manager with CountyCare healthplan.
  • Do you have any favorite teachers? If so, why were they your favorite?  Bill Trego – HS Choir teacher and all around mensch. He was a wonderful combination of extremely high standards and a deep appreciation of laughter.   Mrs. Farley – my fourth grade teacher who inspired my love of history
  • What subject in school was your LEAST favorite and why?  Probably math, which is odd because I work with data all the time in my professional life. I think the disconnect was that in school it was not taught with a sense of relevance, but in my day-to-day work, I apply it and use the numbers to help tell stories about how we can get better at what we do.

Peter comes from a family that has always honored and respected education.  His mother was a Reading Specialist in inner city Trenton, NJ and his father a pharmacist.  Peter works in Health Care as a project manager and considers himself a “life long learner.” He is an advocate for every student having equal opportunities and serves on the boards of Kaneland School District #302 and Kaneland Arts Initiative. He has been seen as an actor in all 6 summer productions of KAI.  He credits his family for teaching him the most.

Peter will be reading his speech, A GOOD Education, on Sunday, October 18th at 3pm.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE SHOUT OUT!

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SHOUT OUT Cast Spotlight – Nicole DiSandro

Nicole is happy to be involved in this wonderful afternoon. The unique experience and opportunity is quite humbling and she thanks Mrs. McFarlin for approaching her to take part in it.  Nicole is an extremely busy KHS Senior actively involved in Madrigals, Poms, National Honor Society, portraying Juliet’s nurse in  KHS’ fall play Romeo and Juliet, and holding down two jobs, in addition to AP classes, applying to colleges and keeping calm (or pretending to…). She has also been in numerous musicals at KHS and through KAI. Her most recent musical performance was as Donkey in Shrek: the Musical last spring at KHS. She is planning to major in musical theatre next fall and thanks the Kaneland School District, Kaneland Arts Initiative and the Kaneland Community for endless opportunities and support. Nicole hopes everyone enjoys this beautiful, unique performance.

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Nicole was kind enough to answer the following spotlight questions:

  • What grade are you in?  I am a senior at Kaneland High School. (217 days until graduation!)
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?  I am planning to major in Musical Theatre, so hopefully somewhere in that business, preferably on stage.
  • Do you have any favorite teachers?  If so, why were they your favorite?  I have many favorite teachers. Mrs. Zulkowski, Mr. Kowalski (former KHMS choir director), Mrs. Grant, Mr. Kunstman, Mrs. Staker and Mrs. McFarlin for always believing in me, always supporting me and constantly teaching me to pursue what my passion is. Also Mr. Busch (former KHS History teacher) and Mr. Bruno for teaching their classes with such conviction and overwhelming adoration of their subject. Their love for teaching has led me to love learning from them.
  • Did you walk to elementary school or ride a bus?  Any funny memories?  I rode the bus because, like a significant percentage of other Kaneland students, I live among the cornfields.
  • What excites you the most about education?   Every moment we live is a moment in which we can learn.

You’ll have the opportunity to hear Nicole read, The Kaneland Scene, on Sunday, October 18th at 3pm.

CLICK HERE TO GET TICKETS TO THE SHOUT OUT!

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SHOUT OUT Cast Spotlight – Sharon Beck & Carol Alfrey

Meet Sharon Beck!SharonQuote

Sharon has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education, a Masters of Science in educational psychology, and a Masters of Science in counseling.  Sharon is a counselor at Kaneland High School (KHS) where she also has taught Math and worked with the Kaneland Advantage Program (KAP).  She is finishing her career this year after 27 years and is excited about continuing her “learning” journey.  She credits her family for allowing her to learn as much as she has and truly believes that her excellent choice of “education” as a career has had truly incredible consequences.

Sharon was a math teacher for 19 years, KAP credit recovery program for 5 years, guidance counselor for the past 3 years.  At some point in those 27 years, I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with Sharon, because we shared a teaching supervision.  As a colleague, we bonded over conversations about music, me being a band director and she being a former Bb clarinet player.    In conversation just a few days ago regarding this weekend’s performance, Sharon said, “This will be my first time on stage.”  The very statement, to me, seemed remarkable, as she has served as a leader in the Kaneland Educators Association and a sponsor or many activities at Kaneland, not to mention her time playing clarinet.  I have never seen her be anything but intelligent, thoughtful, and graceful.  She will be brilliant on Sunday, reading One Thing I Have Learned.

 

Next up ….. Carol Alfrey!CarolQuote

  • What is your educational background?   I have a BA in Elementary Education/Learning Disabilities; MA in Educational Psychology and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration
  • If you are already employed, what do you do?   I am the Executive Director of Conley Outreach Community Services, where I do everything from write grants, organize Salvation Army kettles and run a grief camp to vacuuming floors and cleaning out refrigerators.
  • Do you have a favorite story (that you’re not telling for the SHOUT OUT) that happened to YOU during your education?   I was the drum major my senior year here at Kaneland, one of the first females to be chosen. I convinced the band director that I should wear a skirt and black shiny boots, instead of the baggy black pants. It was a very short skirt (it was the early 70’s). Not very warm in the latter part of the marching season, but oh so cute (or so I thought).
  • Do you have any favorite teachers? If so, why were they your favorite?   Dr. William Schlacks (the above mentioned band director)—he was the only teacher I ever had who reprimanded me. He was right and I respected him for it. He also let me wear the skirt.  Dr. Bruce Balow, a professor at the University of Minnesota, a brilliant man in the field of autism, who farmed on the weekend and had season’s opera tickets. He was the epitome of a balanced life.  Dr. Robert Bruininks, also from the University who is one of smartest people I ever met. Guileless, honest, sincere and laser sharp, he treated everyone, from the office assistant with developmental disabilities, to the Provost with the same respect and kindness. He would eventually become president of the University, proving sometimes nice guys do finish first.
  • What subject in school was your LEAST favorite and why?   Math. Too precise!
  • Who do you feel is the hardest working person in an educational system and why?  Every one of them, in their own way.
  • What teacher in your life would you like to hear from during a future KAI SHOUT OUT?   Pam Ferdinand; Joe Locacio
  • Did you walk to elementary school or ride a bus? Any funny memories?   Rode the bus. My bus driver was Mrs. Zerby. We were all terrified of her. After I grew up and got to know her, I discovered she was actually very nice.
  • What excites you the most about education?   It is not limited by time or space, age or ability. We are lifelong learners, with so much to discover about ourselves and our world.  Education opens minds and doors and can break down walls. It creates futures and helps us learn from the past.  It is oxygen for our souls.

Carol has spent 40 years working in some aspect of education or human services. She holds an MA in Educational Psychology and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota and is currently the Executive Director of Conley Outreach Community Services.  A Kaneland graduate long before the auditorium was ever conceived, she is able to stand before you today because her high school speech teacher, Mrs. King, hunted her down for 3 years straight and forced her to compete in Forensics. Who knew After Dinner Speaking would actually come in handy someday? She is an avid supporter of KAI and is excited to be a part of the 2015 Shout Out to Education cast.  Carol is married, has one son and is the only member of the household without perfect pitch.

You will have a wonderful opportunity to hear her speech, A Soft Spot, on Sunday, October 18th at 3pm.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE SHOUT OUT!

 

 

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SHOUT OUT Cast Spotlight – Al Lagattolla & Bryan Kunstman

Our first SHOUT OUT! cast spotlights are …

Al Lagattolla & Bryan Kunstman!

I asked the cast members a few questions to give you an opportunity to get to know the amazing speakers to grace the stage on Sunday, October 18th.  
AlQuote

What is your educational background?   I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

What do you do for employment?   I am the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle.

 

Do you have any favorite teachers?  If so, why were they your favorite?   Yes. They were my favorite because they were inspiring and enthusiastic. They were accessible, and there was a joy about them.

What subject in school was your LEAST favorite and why?   I struggled with physics at the high school level. I just didn’t understand it. I also took an American Revolution class in college, and I was disappointed that it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.

Who do you feel is the hardest working person in an educational system and why?   The teachers who also worked as assistants in after-school activities. At times, you could tell they were volunteering, but yet they were there every step of the way. They just wanted to be there.

 

Did you walk to elementary school or ride a bus?  Any funny memories?   I walked. It was a two-block walk. It was an unremarkable walk, but it was nice to be with friends.

What excites you the most about education?   Just how it can make so many things possible. It’s great when kids know that they can achieve things they might not have previously considered.

Al is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle and an Elburn resident. He has two children who attend schools in Kaneland School District 302 – Grace, a sixth-grader at Harter Middle School and Rosalie, a fourth-grader at John Stewart Elementary. Hobbies include running, watching his daughters in their various activities and attending school board meetings.  He will be reading his essay entitled, Feedback and Relationships.

 

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Bryan graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Music Education with a vocal emphasis.  His Masters in Educational Leadership is from Aurora University. He has been the choral director at Kaneland High School since the fall of 2001. Bryan sings with the St. Charles Singers.  He serves on the board of the American Choral Directors Association of Illinois as the District 9 representative, and he is the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Choir co-coordinator. Bryan is married to Mary, and their two daughters Kailey and Emma keep them busy when he isn’t working with the Kaneland students.  For fun he enjoys hockey, golf and anything having to do with being outdoors.

The 2015 Kane County Educator of the Year, Bryan will be reading his essay, Purpose of Education.  Here is what he had to say when I asked him a few questions:

What is your educational background?   I have a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a vocal emphasis from Northern Illinois University.  I have a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University.  I am currently working on a master’s degree in Music Education from Northern Illinois University.

Where do you work and what do you do?   I am the choral director at Kaneland High School

Do you have any favorite teachers? If so, why were they your favorite?   Mrs. Berg – She was instrumental in ensuring that my parents kept me in music.  Mr. Stoffel – He was my high school choral director, who played a big role in guiding me down the path to a career in music education.  There were several other teachers and coaches who made a difference in my life.

What subject in school was your LEAST favorite and why?   The most difficult subject for me was Art.  My mother is an artist, and I was always so disappointed in my futile attempts at drawing.

What teacher in your life would you like to hear from during a future KAI SHOUT OUT?   Lori Grant

Did you walk to elementary school or ride a bus? Any funny memories?   I walked at times, rode my bike, and rode the bus.  When I got to fifth grade, I had to carry my snare drum to school.  The case was about the same size as me.

What excites you the most about education?   I am most excited by the opportunity to work with amazing students in a community that supports their success.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE 2015 SHOUT OUT! for education

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SHOUT OUT for education – Cast Spotlights

Who’s ready to get to know the cast of KAI’s

2015 SHOUT OUT! for education?!

2015 SHOUT OUT CAST

You are invited to join the class of KAI’s 2015 SHOUT OUT! for education as class is in session on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 3:00pm.  Class will meet in the Kaneland Auditorium on the campus of Kaneland HIgh School.  Teacher extraordinaire Diane McFarlin will be at the head of the class, hosting the session.  Pupils will be reading their own homework aloud, weaving personal stories and experiences to celebrate education, teaching, and learning.  After class, meet with the classmates at a reception in the auditorium lobby.  Tickets are available now.

2015 SHOUT OUT! for education Cast Members

Maria Y. Dripps-Paulson

Caitrin Mills

Bryan Kunstman

Nicole DiSandro

Al Lagatolla

Sharon Beck

Peter Lopatin

Carol Alfrey

In the next few blog posts, you will have an opportunity to meet each of the cast members and learning a little bit about each one and why they have chosen to be a part of this calssroom.

We look foward to holding class with you on Sunday!

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SHOUT OUT! for education – Sunday, October 18th at 3pm

The Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) is opening its 2015 – 2016 season with a unique event celebrating education.  SHOUT OUT! for education is a series of live readings written and read by individuals sharing their educational experiences.

KAI_ShoutOut2015_posterThe event is scheduled for Sunday, October 18th at 3:00 pm in the Kaneland Auditorium.

The SHOUT OUT! for education performance celebrates all things education.

Mandela QuoteThe 2015 SHOUT OUT! for education cast members are Carol Alfrey, Sharon Beck, Nicole DiSandro, Maria Dripps-Paulson, Bryan Kunstman, Al Lagattolla, Peter Lopatin, and Caitrin Mills. Each cast member has written an essay, which they will read aloud, telling a unique experience or opportunity or story about education.  The stories are original compositions are will make the listener laugh, cry, and remember why education is vital, exciting, and wonderful.

Tickets are on sale online.  Adults are $10, Seniors are $8, Students are $5.  Tickets are an additional $2 when purchased at the door.  Seating is general admission.  The event is appropriate for all ages and the length of the performance is approximately an hour with no intermission.  This program is the first event in the new KAI Theatrical Subscription package.

The KAI is thrilled to serve the community with professional Arts programing for an exciting 17th season.  Tickets are available NOW!

Click HERE to purchase your SHOUT OUT! for education tickets.

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INSPRA Recognizes the Kaneland Arts Initiative Special Purpose Publication

On September 18th, school communications professionals from throughout Illinois were honored during the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association’s (INSPRA) Annual Communications Contest and Golden Achievement Awards luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Oakbrook.

More than 115 entries were submitted in the categories of annual reports, audio-video, calendars/handbooks, electronic publications, financial information, marketing materials, newsletters, website, writing and special purpose.  Entries were judged against criteria of excellence and only those receiving top scores in a variety of areas received awards. National School Public Relations Association chapter members from Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin served as judges for those categories.  Golden Achievements Awards also were given for projects that encompass all aspects of a public engagement program, from research to planning, implementation, and evaluation.

“The contest recognizes the amazing communications work done by our members,” said INSPRA President Danielle Brink, Director of Community Relations for DuPage High School District 88.

Kaneland School District’s unique Arts organization, the Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI), created a brochure during the 2014 – 2015 school year to describe the work that the organization does for the school district and the community.  Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, Associate Superintendent of Kaneland Schools, nominated the KAI Informational Brochure for the INSPRA Communication Contest in the category of Special Purpose.  In August, the school district was notified that the Kaneland Arts Initiative was to be awarded this distinction at the September Awards luncheon.

Representatives of the Kaneland School District and KAI attend the INSPRA Communication Contest and Golden Achievement Awards Luncheon on September 18, 2015. Pictured from left: Bonnie Whildin, Laura McPhee, Diane McFarlin, Dr. Todd Leden (behind), Maria Dripps-Paulson, Heidi Gilkey, Emily VanDelinder-Birchfield, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, and Deanna Cates

Pictured from left: Bonnie Whildin, Laura McPhee, Diane McFarlin, Dr. Todd Leden (behind), Maria Dripps-Paulson, Heidi Gilkey, Emily VanDelinder-Birchfield, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, and Deanna Cates

Dr. Todd Leden, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, and members of the Kaneland Arts Initiative board of directors and staff attended the event.  KAI Executive Director, Maria Dripps-Paulson, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.  At the September 28th Kaneland School District board of education meeting, Dr. Fuchs saluted the Kaneland Arts Initiative for their great public relations work as well as their dedication to providing outstanding artistic programs for the school district.  The award will be on display in the Kaneland District Office conference room next to the INSPRA Distinguished Service Award received by the Kaneland Arts Initiative in 2007.

The brochure was designed by Fairel Rank of Fairel Anne Designs, Ltd. Copies of the KAI Informational Brochure are available in all Kaneland school buildings and public libraries.  An electronic copy may be viewed below:

KAI Informational Brochure Front

Front Cover of the KAI Informational Brochure. Die Cut with fold

KAI Informational Brochure Inside

KAI Informational Brochure – Inside

KAI Informational Brochure Back

KAI Informational Brochure Back Cover

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Practically Perfect! A nanny, a chimney sweep, and the family on Cherry Tree Lane

Upon meeting their new nanny, Jane and Michael learn that Mary Poppins is practically perfect:

“I’m practically perfect in every way,
Practically perfect that’s my forte,
Uncanny nannies are hard to find,
Unique yet meek unspeakably kind ……. I’m so practically perfect in every way” (Mary Poppins the Broadway Musical)

Bringing the classic book turned timeless movie and beautifully artistic staged muscial to life, Mary Poppins will burst onto the Kaneland Auditorium stage July 15 – 17 and 22 – 24, 2016 as the Kaneland Arts Initiative Kaneland Community Summer Theatre Production.  Directed by the wildly talented team of Diane McFarlin and Peter Lopatin, the 7th annual summer musical promises to showcase a large, multi-generational cast and the Kaneland Auditorium in new and exciting ways.

“This will be our biggest production yet,” says KAI executive director, Maria Dripps-Paulson, “The cast is big, the pit orchestra is big, and the set is big.”  Diane McFarlin, director of many KAI theatre productions as well as artistic director of the organization says, “Normally, we announce the show in February.  However, we are going to start production on this show earlier than past years, so we want everyone to know what our show is now so they can make plans if they would like to audition or participate in any way.”  Dripps-Paulson went on to say, “A show of this magnitude will need the support of the community.  We are sending out our corporate sponsorship campaign this week and look forward to welcoming our regular businesses and new ones as sponsors.”

This year, patrons will be able to purchase a subscription to KAI’s theatrical events, which includes the production of Mary Poppins.  Subscription packages will officially go on sale on Sunday, September 27th.  The Kaneland Arts Inititative website (www.kanelandartsinitaitive.org) will have more details as they come available and questions may be directed to Maria Dripps-Paulson.