Holocaust survivor brings message of peace, respect to Hart School students

At Homewood-Flossmoor High School, the initials MVP have a new twist standing for Media, Visual Arts and Performing Arts (MVP) rather than the sports acronym “most valuable player.”

The MVP Academy got the go-ahead from the H-F school board Jan. 19. The specially designed curriculum for students in the arts will begin with the Class of 2020.

Students will audition or present portfolios at the end of their sophomore year to be considered for admission into the MVP Academy. Faculty are designing several new courses that will give students in the arts special recognition and a stronger foundation for college work.

The program’s design has been in the works for several years. It was first proposed by school board member Jeanne McInerney-Lubeck. The board applauded her efforts and said the final outcome speaks to her passion for the arts and the recognition she wanted for students in the arts.

When McInerney-Lubeck stepped down from the board in fall 2014, member Jody Scariano continued to work with staff and administrators to see the idea to fruition.

Matthew Holdren, chair of the Fine Arts Department, said H-F’s program “will really be one of a kind. The key word is evolution” as students discover new ways of looking at art and creating art.

Faculty visited numerous schools to find what has worked in promoting the arts and then designed the MVP Academy around the best parts of those programs.

At H-F, the junior year proposed course, “Aesthetics and the Creative Process,” will use observation, discussion and analysis of the arts.

In summer, students in the MVP Academy will take field trips to exhibitions and performances, and take classes in various topics, including the collaborative process of working as an artistic team, portfolio building and artistic reviews.

Teacher J.R. Rose said one of the more unique aspects of MVP Academy is the proposed senior year project, “Comparative and Collaborative Arts Seminar,” that will have students from all genres of the arts working as a team on a specific project.

It could pair a cameraman from broadcasting with a violinist from orchestra and a stage director and actor from theater, he said. The idea is for students to learn from each other, expanding their understanding of fine arts and how their area of art can relate to others in the arts.

“We just think that is such higher level thinking than anyone is doing at any other high school,” Rose told board members.

Rose and Holdren believe the MVP Academy will give H-F students advantages when they apply to college.

“We really feel that students that come out of this program will be top of the class, and arts schools will be interested in them not just for scholarships but all the opportunities colleges will have for them,” Holdren said.


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