June 28 2012

Hundreds enjoy Lakes Art Make-and-Take event

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER A passion for art that started when he was a child turned into a 35-year career of inspiring students at Rockford schools. Lakes Elementary School had its annual Art Make-and-Take event on Thursday, April 26. The man who was behind the creation of the event teaches art at Lakes as well as teaching at other Rockford schools. “This is about the 30th year of the art show at Lakes,” said Kenn Vidro, art teacher. Vidro started his teaching career at Rockford High School with Lakes Elementary becoming his “anchor” school when the district decided to start an elementary art program in 1983. Although he has taught some art classes as part of the art staff at the other elementary schools over the years, Vidro has never stopped teaching at Lakes since he started with the school’s art program. The students at Lakes, from the newest kindergarten student to students who graduated many years ago, think fondly of “Mr. V” and his passion for art. “Kenn Vidro is a legend around here,” said Lakes Elementary School Principal Blake Bowman. “His passion, his humor, his joy for teaching basically makes him the Pied Piper.” Bowman joked that if Vidro played tuba, there would be 500 students playing tubas. “A night like this is a great chance for the parents to see the magic the kids see everyday,” Bowman said. Vidro not only influences young artists, but is an accomplished artist himself. As summer is approaching, Vidro is contemplating what his third entry into ArtPrize will be. ArtPrize is an art contest that takes place yearly in Grand Rapids and gets applicants locally, from the United States as well as other countries. Cartooning and painting are among the art mediums Vidro most enjoys. Last year, his ArtPrize entry focused on a series of 14 paintings from rhyming riddle books. The books consist of word riddles called “square pears” that Vidro wrote and illustrated himself. The clues to the answers are given in the form of words and in the form of cartoon illustrations. The answer is always a set of rhyming words. He is considering doing a large “I spy” type painting for his 2012 entry. Hundreds of students and community members came out […]

RHS crew members help special needs students experience fun on water

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER Working together to benefit special needs students was the goal of everyone involved in a recent activity on the Rogue River. About 40 Rockford High School (RHS) crew team members gave up part of their summer break to work with about 20 special needs students. RHS students have been giving back through the Rockford Athletes with a Mission of Service (R.A.M.S.) program. The Special Treasures group, which serves area special needs children, has been in existence for about three years. During the 2011-2012 year Special Treasures teamed up with the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) in Rockford to put together athletic clinics for students with any type of special need. The most recent activity was in mid-June and involved coordinating efforts to get the special needs students on the Rogue River. Grace Smith—who has a son, Hayden, in the Special Treasures Group and a daughter, Eva, in crew—thought having a crew event would be fun, as the group has done various other sports such as cross country, volleyball, dance, basketball, bowling, soccer, tennis, track and baseball. “We all thought it would be a fun thing for the kids to do,” Smith said. However, crew team boats are expensive, so using them was not the best option. Melissa Sova, who has a stepson in the SEPAC group, was talking to a client of her salon, Xpress Clips in Rockford, about trying to make the event happen. The client, Mary Wiseman, had the answer. Wiseman, owner of AAA Canoes for the past five years, donated the use of 17 canoes, nine kayaks, and life jackets, and provided eight staff members to make the activity a reality. Each student was in a canoe with two crew team members. There also were lifeguards and spotters mixed in among the group. Grace and Eva Smith both said the event was “exciting” and “a great thing for everyone involved.” “I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community,” said Tori Porter, a sophomore. “We get to introduce kids to a sport that can be a lifelong pastime,” said Justin Adsitt, another crew team member. Wiseman and Sova coordinated the pickup of students in downtown Rockford and the drop-off at 12 Mile […]

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