Fine Arts dpt. named “School of Distinction”

Fine Arts dpt. named “School of Distinction”

The banner for the award.

Bradley Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

The Fine Arts department has recently been recognized as a School of Distinction and nominated for a larger national award in arts education by the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education. Riverside Brookfield is the only high school receiving this nomination and award this year in the state of Illinois.

Fine Arts department chair Nick Gehl said, “The judging criteria was based on a number of things including creative approaches in the class room, efforts in community, cultural exploration, student opportunities, and curriculum.

The department was recognized for its excellence in art education in four subject areas of fine arts: dance, drama, music and visual arts. Students have opportunities to choose from around fifty different fine arts classes during the course of their four years.

Gehl said, “The Alliance approached us with the materials and information about the program, and I thought, since students, staff, and the administration has done such a phenomenal job over the past few years, that someone should hear about us.”

Gehl added, “I was thrilled to hear we won. I was really happy for the students and staff to get the recognition they deserve and to be noticed for the time they’ve put into the department.”

Vocal music director Diane Marelli said, “We were thrilled to be recognized for our work. The department has grown for so many years so it was great to finally be recognized.”

Dance teacher Mindy Haines said, “I was pumped to hear we won the award. I am thankful that we received it because we really we felt as if we really deserved the award.”

One of the main reasons that the department took home the award was the sheer amount of classes and variety available to students. Haines said, “What sets us apart is that we represent all four disciplines. It is very common for high schools to just have art represented, but here at RB we represent many different types including every visual art, acting and directing, vocal music, instrumental music, and dance. Not all schools have these opportunities.”

Marelli felt that Fine Arts Survey, a very unique class offered here at RB, helped the department win the award, saying, “Fine Arts Survey is a very unusual class. I’ve been asked to speak about the class and everyone who hears about it is very interested. Students here take the class for granted or even dread the class, but many other schools wish they had the opportunity to teach this class.”

The department will be the representative for Illinois at a national level later this year. There is a reception for RB at the governor’s mansion in March.

Gehl said, “It’s nice to be recognized at a national level and it is an honor to be the representative school from Illinois.”