Buffalo Grove High School hosts Harlem Renaissance Forum
Updated: March 7, 2013 10:31AM
BUFFALO GROVE — Buffalo Grove High School offered a cultural experience for all juniors Feb. 20, when a variety of teachers and students presented an interdisciplinary forum on the Harlem Renaissance.
As part of Buffalo Grove High School and District 214’s initiatives, this forum took a close look at the Harlem Renaissance through the lenses of art, music, history and literature, according to Sandy Beguin, English/Fine Arts Division chair. The main emcee for the program was English teacher Ami Relf, with co-presenters and fellow English teachers Jeff Grybash and Kate Hutchinson, art teacher Michelle Price, director of bands Ed Jacobi, literacy lab co-director/history teacher Heidi Haen, and history teacher Lisa McCullough.
Divided into four themed sets: “Struggling against Oppression,” “Dreaming the Dream,” “Celebrating Harlem,” and “Standing Strong,” the forum was presented through a wide spectrum of media. Each set included a thematic overview, followed by a combination of poetry and prose readings, an artist profile, and a musical selection. Powerpoint and visual slide shows and a film clip were used throughout. The musical selections included three numbers by the Buffalo Grove’s Jazz band, a swing dance set performed by four students from the Expressions show choir, and two songs performed by choral students.
Beguin, with a great deal of interdisciplinary teaching experience, said she believes that “interdisciplinary learning offers students a way to connect their learning to a broader whole — to create meaning beyond the compartmentalized classroom experience most kids are used to. When we cross disciplines and lead students to see how the events of history came together in such a way that the time was ripe for another event to happen, and when we do it through song and art and literature, we have provided the big picture and allowed them to learn in the most natural of ways – through immersion.”
The forum also included participation from many students sharing additional creative talents. Tech crew students worked behind the scenes, the Expressions students selected and choreographed the swing dance number, two junior art students profiled artists of the period, and three speech/acting students read poetry.