Westside schools:
Bijou plugged into film festival

       The Bijou School will host a film-making forum that could bring as many as 200 people to the school the morning of Friday, Nov. 5.
       According to Kathryn Presnal, principal of District 11's alternative high school at the site of the former Whittier Elementary, the event will feature film-makers with the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The festival itself is scheduled in Colorado Springs Nov. 5-7, so it will be a “pre-film fest film fest,” as Presnal put it.
       Also in attendance in the school gym will be young people and chaperones from other area schools and organizations (the Community Prep School, Tesla, Palmer Night School, Inside/Out Youth Services, Urban Peak, Zebulon Pike and the Emily Griffith Center). Aware that some of the above entities include students with various personal issues or histories of criminal behavior, Presnal stressed that the event is optional for Bijou students and “will be well-supervised by professionals from all schools/agencies and I do not feel there is any risk posed to my students.”
       She added: “In offering this opportunity to our students, we are only seeking to provide them with experience that could be valuable and inform their lives and, perhaps, give some direction where there have previously been none. We have students who are visual learners and learning about the topics covered in these films may well be a welcome change. All of the films have some direct application to curricular areas (English, Science, Social Studies, etc.). There is no funding for this project as it is a voluntary and free event to any students who choose to participate.”

John Davis (right) director of the Jazz Studies program at CU-Boulder, who served as a judge for Coronado High School's second annual Jazz Festival Oct. 26, offers suggestions during a clinic with Coronado's Jazz Band 1 after its festival performance. The festival drew bands from 10 area schools.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Washington painting
       The spot where the historic painting of George Washington had hung at West Elementary has been empty of late.
       But that's a good thing. “It's being repaired,” explained Tom Hendrix of the Westside Optimists Club, whose members volunteer at the school.
       The restorative work has been a long time coming. Gifted to District 11 as an original painting by respected Western artist Charles Craig in 1894 when the Westside's Washington Elementary opened, the ornately framed painting hung, uncovered, for most of its years in a school lobby. Of late, it's been located along a hallway near the West Elementary administration offices, next to a sculpture of an eagle, as a salute to the two closed elementaries (Whittier, which had the eagle mascot; and Washington, named after the American general and first president) whose kids were reassigned to West when it opened in fall 2009.
       Hendrix said the Optimists initially tried to find someone who would touch up the Washington painting at no charge, but without luck. A downtown-area restorative artist named Victoria Ryan was eventually recommended to Hendrix by a group with a display at the Old Colorado City History Center (where he also volunteers). The district is covering her expense, which is set at $800. No completion date has been announced.
       Along with the effects of age and exposure, the painting has two small holes that need to be filled. But overall, Hendrix is impressed with how untainted the president's image was. “It's amazing how long it's survived,” he said. “It had all those year sitting in the school with no protection, and no one even drew a mustache on it. Those were remarkable kids who went there. They're Westside people, you know.”
       State J-Day awards
       Several members of Coronado High School's Cougar Chronicle newspaper received awards at the Colorado High School Journalism Day competition Oct. 14.
       They were as follows:
       Ad Design -Kevin Kennedy and Ashley Gardner (second place).
       Sports News Article - Ciana Neely and Megan Wood (third place).
       Page Layout Investigative Report - Megan Wood, Ashlie Slater, Dylan Taylor, Kevin Kennedy and Ciana Neely (honorable mention).
       Front Page Layout - Rioux Jordan (honorable mention).

Westside Pioneer/press releases