3/28/2014 6:00:00 AM Lee Williams gets an upgrade for the arts
Students rehearse on stage for an upcoming performance at Lee Williams High School. In front, from left, are Juilanna Smith and Kama Greve, both 16 years old. The school’s theater is getting a major upgrade thanks to some grant funds. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)
Ethan Baranski (front) and other students in the graphics class at Lee Williams High School create the front and back of a catalog of their choice on computers. Lee Williams and Kingman High are the recipeints of $115,000 in grant money approved by the Western Arizona Vocational Education/ Joint Technical Education District, and the schools are using the funds to enhance classes and help prepare students to enter the workforce upon graduation. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)
KINGMAN - The lights and sound finally will be coming up in the original Lee Williams High School auditorium for students in the Technical Theater program there.
Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Western Arizona Vocational Education/Joint Technical Education District, the audience will be able to better see and hear the performers as they sing, dance and act at the high school. The entire project is expected to cost about $150,000, and the rest of the money will come from WAVE/JTED funds allocated annually to Kingman Unified School District.
LWHS drama teacher Sarah Kucharek, who presented the request to WAVE/JTED, said the auditorium's needs were not addressed when the school was re-opened two years ago. And now that the auditorium is being used for productions, the lack of lighting makes it difficult to see students at the front of the stage. Also, continuous noise from the air conditioning and heating units causes sound problems.
At past productions this year, Kucharek has been forced to borrow lighting and sound equipment, including old hand-held spotlights, so the shows could go on. The Technical Theater program is in its first year at Lee Williams High School and has 84 students.
"This auditorium is the original one used by the community, and we ought to give it what is needed so it can function," said Kucharek. "Our theater program is vital to the school, but we can't run it if we can't see or hear the students on the stage. There's a big section on the test about lighting, and I can teach with pictures, but they won't retain what I'm teaching if they can't get hands-on experience."
The lighting upgrade consists of replacing the dimmer rack, installing a front-of-house lighting system, adding fixture packages and installing a new lighting console. The audio upgrade features replacing a majority of the sound components that are currently installed and adding speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers. Also, changes will be made to the auditorium's ventilation and electrical components.
The Technical Theater program teaches students how to maintain lighting equipment, use lighting boards, hang and focus lighting instruments, understand color media and lighting accessories, and use lighting design software. Also, it helps students maintain audio equipment, understand sound board operation, learn acoustic theory, use sound design and playback software, run a mixing console and understand live sound and studio recording techniques.
Another program run by Kucharek, called Technical Theater: Costumes and Makeup, is receiving a $5,000 grant to purchase a variety of items.
They include two sewing machines, a storage cart, sewing kits, two ironing boards and an iron, a dress form, three shoe rack stands and numerous sewing accessories.
Also, they feature theater-grade face makeup and powder, zombie wheels for creating wounds, tubs of nose and scar wax, old age makeup wheels, olive and dark flesh wheels, mixing palettes and various brushes.
"The school has only been open for two years, and we started the Technical Theater program this year, so we are stocking up for the first time," said Kucharek. "Kingman High School's program is well established. Once we get our costume fabric and makeup, we can add to it like they do, but it's a huge investment to start out. We're getting the works and it will help us tremendously."
Graphics are a go
Also at LWHS, the Advanced Graphics Program received a $5,000 grant from WAVE/JTED for a new large-format printer for posters and banners. The program, run by Mark Richter and composed of 51 students, will allow participants to print from rolls of paper instead of on the current 11-inch-by-17-inch format. Graphics students will work with the Technical Theater program to help them advertise their upcoming events and shows.
"I think it's important for the students to actually see their work being used," said Richter, who spent years in commercial graphic design before teaching. "And it goes beyond providing an academic exercise for them. If they take this seriously, they can have a portfolio of work that includes pictures of their banners hanging in school to show prospective employers. This is very important."
The program teaches students to understand copyright, use editing and proofing skills, identify the principles and elements of graphic design, learn about color, present a workflow outline for a project from start to finish, engage in pre-production and planning, produce single- and multi-color projects, monitor the quality assurance of their product and critique their work.
Tom Duranceau, a WAVE/JTED board member, said the agency is dedicated to helping students achieve by providing state-of-the-art equipment.
Duranceau said the grants pay for needs that other regular funding sources, such as school boards or community organizations, wouldn't usually underwrite.
"We give these students opportunities they wouldn't normally have by awarding the grants to these programs," said Duranceau. "Theater technology and makeup are two areas where they would have a hard time getting money. But when they graduate here, they'll be able to go to Los Angeles or anywhere.
"We want to take them to a higher level with the top technology that's available so they can be ready for careers in their chosen fields."
Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Article comment by:
This is a grant for Drama. There doesn't need to be an emphasis on the 3Rs. If there was a grant for English or Math then one would expect such. I find it refreshing in today's education system that only focuses on testing, that there is still a desire for the arts. Can't wait to see all the upgrades. Great job Ms. Kucharek.
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014
Article comment by:
This is nice, but how much emphasis is put on education in 3R's is a co-requisite perquisite to these fun things?