8th Grade Trip to Cities

IMG_28428th Grade students, High School Mentors, a teacher’s Aide and Ms. O traveled to the Cities in early January. We started the day out at the Ordway Theater, St. Paul where we listened (and danced!!) to the Cambodian Surf Rock band “Dengue Fever”. They are out of Los Angeles, Ca and travel the world playing their fun dance music. It was a completely new sound for most and the students loved it! They enjoyed seeing the instrument they play in Band on stage in a band! The Ordway main floor was full of students from throughout the state (primarily Twin Cities).

For lunch the cooks at school prepared a pic-nic bag lunch that we ate on or way the visit Wing Young Huie’s gallery “The Third Place”. Mr. Huie, born and raised in Duluth, studied journalism at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He found photography on his own and has created a vibrant  life with it. He is well known around the world for his narrative photographs – documenting daily life – creating conversations about identity, opportunity and community. We incorporate his work in our curriculum at South Ridge, in particular the “Chalk Talk”. This is an activity where two people who don’t know each other well ask open ended questions in an effort to get to know and understand each other better.There are eight questions such as: What are you?,What advise would you give to a stranger? How has race affected you?; and Describe an incident that changed you. Students talk with each other and then together they choose one answer that is most significant for each of them and write the statement on a chalk board. Then, they photograph each other holding the statement. It is an amazing experience.
Mr. Huie talked with the students about the current collection of photographs which ask the question, “How do photographs form us?” A well rounded discussion ensued about how what we see determined what we think is true (or not true). As young people the culture is often visually spelled out to us – so our understanding of visual literacy is very important. His encouragement to them as they work towards their personal goals was to “talk with someone you don’t know”. Reach past your circle of friends to others and understand them. It was great to see the students open up to him and respond.
Our last stop was the Minneapolis Institute of Art. As you know this is one of the most amazing museums in the country. Our students saw 500 A.C. Greek sculpture as well as modern painting. Over 75% had never been in a museum and were thrilled. That day there were a lot of folks, other than from our group, visiting the museum as well which was cool for students to see. Young and old were looking, quietly talking and many sketching (as we were) the artwork. They fit in beautifully and were wonderful touring the museum galleries. To see, for example, an original Monet, Chuck Close, and Frank Lloyd Wright within one hour was great. Many hope to return with more time.
Our dinner, before heading back home was at Pizza Luce’, downtown Minneapolis. About 20 pizza’s and all the pop you can drink went without questions. They enjoyed talking about the day and being together in a “cool” place. The staff treated them with fake tattoo’s and life was good.
This trip (and others like it ) was made possible through the generous contributions  of CC Riders, Lake Country Power, #29 Rotary and parents/teachers of South Ridge school. Your contribution gave these young people a great memory and life experience. Everywhere we went the staff and performers reached out to the students in meaningful ways – and our students became a part of an exciting cultural life. Thank you again for your support!

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