by Daniela Morales
Let’s rewind to the first week of school. To the first advisory of the 2020-2021 school year. Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) students all over the city sat down to watch Principal Terri Milsap’s “ChiTalks” video, where she’s interviewed by Mark Bracken. It was the beginning of a series that would, in many ways, come to define this strange school year.
The purpose of “ChiTalks” is for students and the school community in general to know who they are sharing ChiArts with.
Since remote learning has made so many of us strangers, the video series is an interactive and fun way to get to know the administrators and other members of the community.
“ChiTalks” have also been perfect platforms to talk about larger issues that impact the school community.
At the time this article was written, there had been eight “ChiTalks” videos. Here’s a quick rundown of what you might have missed.
As the first featured guest, Milsap talks about her relationship with ChiArts as the founding principal and her return to the role in the middle of the 2019-2020 school year. She also mentions her favorite kinds of music to listen to and shows off her impressive sunglasses collection.
In this video, Ms. Cullen talks about her summer, which featured marathon training, as well as a description of her path from social studies teacher at ChiArts to vice principal. Listen to her thoughts about the school community in these virtual times and how she believes it is possible to establish it even behind a screen.
Meet the new artistic director of Chiarts! Tina Boyer Brown talks about her journey through ChiArts, first as an English teacher, then as the creative writing conservatory head, and now as the artistic director. This video features her thoughts on two of ChiArts’ Core Values — Perseverance and Integrity — and how they play into her life. Watch out for an Easter egg throughout the video and comment if you find it.
If you haven’t met ChiArts’ new dean of students, Eric Morris, watch this video! He talks about his drive behind becoming a dean as well as his background growing up on the Southside of Chicago. Listen to his philosophy as a dean and also learn his favorite food to eat on Friday nights. (Also, PS, Morris has a passion for motorcycles.)
In this episode of ChiTalks, integrated arts teacher Brenda Torres-Wakai and Spanish teacher Guadalupe Leon introduce the long-month celebration of Latinx Heritage through a brief overview of Humboldt Park (the neighborhood the ChiArts’ building is located in), and the contributions Puerto Ricans have made for the community.
The Spanish Honor Society members ask each other different questions relating to the relationship between Spanish and being Latinx. They go over their own experiences and opinions on what defines Latinx as an identity and how Spanish has played a role in that.
Meet the leaders for this year’s Latinx Showcase. Each of them talk about why they chose ChiArts and the various ways in which they have been a part of the showcase throughout the years. (By the way, you can watch the ChiArts Latinx Heritage Month Showcase itslef here.)
In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the social sciences department answered some common questions people may have, from “Why is it named Columbus Day in some states and Indigenous Peoples’ Day in others?” to, “How can we learn more about the indigenous people in Illinois?”