ACT IV brings community to MCA

First Posted: 2/11/2009

Architects, singers, artists and videographers are descending on Millennium Charter Academy this week for the Art Converging with Technology program.
This is the fourth year the school has hosted the program which brings in local people involved in the arts and technology and the first year that it has lasted a week. For the past three years, ACT has taken place in a single day with organizers attempting to cram as many speakers as possible into a limited amount of time. By spreading it out to a week, the school was able to bring in more people and give them longer to talk to students.
Its part of our academic focus, its part of our technology focus and its part of our mission statement to learn from people in the community, said Lu Ann Browne, director of development and IT. They get to meet interesting and well known people from the community, and they gain exposure to different arts and technologies that they may normally never see. Its inspiring for them.
Each day of the week has a theme. Monday was technology day with students getting to meet an architect from J.S. Clark and two graphic designers. They also had the opportunity to learn about medical technology, including MRIs and CT scans. Tuesday moved into the performing arts with presentations from Barbara Summerlin, a local author, and other local dramatic performers, including Brack Llewellyn.
Wednesdays focus was music and included visits by Melva Houston and Dan Wyke. Peter Kulzsiski, who was not able to make it on Monday, brought much of the equipment he uses as a freelance videographer to show students. Thursday turns to the visual arts with appearances from painters, photographers and wood carvers.
Presenters spent time telling students a little bit about what they do with many of them bringing in tools of their trade to demonstrate. Kulzsiski brought a large amount of equipment which he uses as a videographer for everything from promotional videos to broadcast to how to videos.
You get to take people places where theyve never been before, he told students of his job, noting that with the changing industry he is responsible for writing, producing and shooting much of what he does.
Dan Wyke, a trumpet player, surprised students by telling them he is a teacher. His degree is in music education and he teaches, conducts and composes as well as performs music.
Performing is probably the greatest joy I have in my life, he said. Any time I get the chance to perform is a joy.
The presenters speak to students in every grade level, changing the depth of the discussion to be age appropriate. Some of the presenters are even able to open the minds of the students to a new possible career path.
The architect said you had to be good in math and art and in school in general, said Souli Boutis, who thought he may want to pursue a career in medicine. That got me kind of thinking about altering my goals in life. Ive always been good at art and math. It seems it would be a good fit for me.
Marissa Petri is also considering becoming an architect. She first got the idea when she had to design a floor plan for a Habitat for Humanity house in one of her classes. She also enjoyed hearing from Bonnie Shropshire, who designs quilts on the computer before bringing them to life using material. Shropshire also brought some drawings of birds she had done which impressed Petri.
Overall, the students said they enjoy learning about the different professions that are available to them in their own community and use the opportunity to expand their knowledge.
Ive lived in California and this is the only school Ive gone to that has done this, said Petri.
Its been a really good experience, added Boutis, who also has attended a number of schools but never been exposed to a similar program.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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