Halloween Festival Benefits from Perfect Fall Weather
Indian Summer graced the 68th Annual Historic Irvington Halloween Festival, which led to a huge crowd. As usual, it was a feast for the eyes, with dog-loving East-siders out in droves with their four-legged friends. Kids, adults, and animals wandered about in costumes both purchased and handmade from vivid imaginations. This year, Irvington Community Schools booth was situated in the Indianapolis Public Library’s Irvington Branch parking lot. As it turns out, with music, food trucks, and beer tents nearby, and of course, our amazing employees staffing the booth, we enjoyed hundreds of visitors. Friendships were rekindled, questions about our schools were answered, and candy went "missing" by the plastic pumpkin bucket-load. Too bad that Halloween comes but once a year!
Teaching the Value of Service is the Irvington Way
Each school year, Irvington Prep plans two Senior Days of Service in conjunction with the underclassmen’s fall and spring college visits. On September 24, 2014, seniors contributed their services to partners including Habitat for Humanity, Indy Urban Acres, Gleaners Food Bank, and the Ransburg YMCA. As well, some seniors stayed on campus to pitch in with landscaping tasks. Others spent the day at Irvington Community Middle School and Irvington Community Elementary School, tidying up the middle school garden and assisting elementary school teachers with classroom activities. Seventy-six IPA seniors participated.
Last school year, Irvington Preparatory Academy (IPA) introduced its Service Learning Program to the Class of 2014. This is in keeping with the concluding promise made in the Irvington Community Schools’ mission statement: “Prepare all students for successful post-secondary experiences as responsible citizens by being involved in service learning opportunities for the betterment of their local and global communities.”
Even though service learning is not mandated at Irvington Prep, it is catching on. Among IPA’s 2014 graduating class, more than two-thirds of the students achieved the minimum of 10 service hours. This year, seniors will need to attain 20 hours, minimally, to receive this distinction. For the Class of 2017, graduates will need 40 hours to meet the standard, having four years to involve themselves in a variety of community-based volunteer work experiences.
Regarding the latest Senior Day of Service, Paige Pittman, IPA’s Service Learning Program Coordinator, says, “Our seniors reported that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was a pleasure to see them acting so selflessly in their volunteer efforts benefiting the east side community.”
Photo caption: IPA seniors Ruth Martinez (left) and Katie Rigdon cheerfully handle the weeding detail at the Irvington Community Middle School garden.
Select ICS Student Artwork Now on Display
Artwork created by students from all three Irvington Community Schools is now on display – and available for purchase! – at the new 5547 Project Art Gallery. The gallery is located at 5547 Bonna Avenue in Historic Irvington, just a few blocks northwest of Irvington Prep. Although it was a difficult process, the pieces that made the final cut were chosen by the ICS art program faculty. Proceeds from the sale of these works will support Irvington Community Schools and its art program.
The artwork will be on display now throughout November. The hours of 5547’s operation are:
Tuesday – Friday 2 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday – 11a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday 11a.m. - 6 p.m.
So stop by 5547 to take in some young artists’ remarkable creations as well as other local professional artists’ work. There’s a coffee bar, too, to enhance your gallery-going experience! For more information about the artwork, please contact Jessica Journey, ICS Director of Advancement, at 357-3770 x144.
Photo Caption: Artwork produced by young artists from Irvington Community Schools is on display – and for sale! – now throughout November at the 5547 Project Art Gallery.
Central Library Art Exhibit Leads to Powerful Conversations
On Thursday, September 18, 2014, Mr. Ballard took his Save Our Students class – all young men in the making – to the Indianapolis Central Library for an unusual field trip. There, the 14 IPA students experienced a guided tour of artist James Pate’s “Kin Killin’ Kin” exhibit. According to the library website, Pate is considered to be “one of the most important African-American artists in the United States.”
Pate’s work on display at the library addresses youth violence in African-American communities while serving as a tribute to this year’s homicide victims in Indianapolis. Further, it represents a call to action for all of Indy’s residents to find a solution to this wave of violence and the terrible toll it leaves in its wake.
IPA students had an opportunity for deep-level dialogue with the tour guides – who themselves had lost family members to gun violence – about what’s going on in the students’ own lives, what experience they’ve had with violence, what their exposure to gangs has been, and how they can make a difference. Following the discussion, students wrote poems, stream-of-consciousness free writings, and lyrics to be shared in podcasts and videos at the library.
“The guys found the artwork extremely interesting and related it to their own experience in how violence has affected them and their neighborhoods,” Mr. Ballard said. One aspect of the exhibit featured toe tags used by coroners to identify murder victims. Visitors are allowed to write on the tags if they knew someone who had been killed. The name of a young man who was murdered last spring appeared on a tag, and several students immediately recognized the name. “That really hit home,” Mr. Ballard added.
At one point, the guides asked that Mr. Ballard leave the room for them to engage in a private discussion with the students about gang involvement. The students insisted that their behavior coach and mentor stay with them for the conversation. Said one, “Anything we say, we’re comfortable saying it in front of Mr. Ballard.” Mr. Ballard notes that the tour guides found that “remarkable.” We do, too.
The “Kin Killin’ Kin” exhibit concludes its run at the Central Library on September 28, 2014. For more information, go to www.imcpl.org/events/kinexhibit/.
Mrs. Aldrich Encourages IPA Students to Paint Like an Egyptian
Students in Mrs. Aldrich’s “Painting Through the Ages” class recently have been involved in a multifaceted Egyptian art project. Initially, students learned about hieroglyphics -- Egyptian writing methodology rich in symbols, which dates back nearly 5,000 years. Next they selected three-five symbols each that caught their fancy and produced color drawings of them for peer review. Once the peer group determined which design to pursue, things got really interesting. Students carved their design in relief in plaster squares. Once the carving was completed, they created milk paint – from milk, of course! Then the painting commenced.
History coming alive through art – that’s keeping it real!
Mrs. Aldrich instructs her students not only how to paint but how to create the paint that leads to such wondrous artistic creations.