AFS Shorewood

AFS Showcase

Shorewood’s AFS chapter was founded in 1952. The chapter is in their 64th year. Shorewood has sent and hosted hundreds of students to every continent besides Antarctica. Brian Schulteis has been advising the club for eight years. Shorewood’s featured AFS Event is Showcase, a celebration and fundraiser supporting AFS and Shorewood Drama. The club hosts events like apple picking, ice skating and rock climbing. AFS Showcase is an annual talent variety show. It is performed in the Gensler Auditorium and stars upwards of 100 students. The show is entirely directed, performed and managed by students. Showcase is a fundraiser for Shorewood’s AFS chapter as well as Shorewood Drama. The show has been performed since the early 1990’s, for over 20 years.

SIS Show Circle- by Maya Lawnicki

On November 13 and 14, 50 students performed in the annual SIS Show Circle. The 50 students who participated set the record for the highest number of performers in Show Circle to date, representing over one-fifth of the SIS student body.

This year’s Show Circle featured a variety of events including hip-hop dances, guitar playing, singing, Broadway performances and Irish dances.

“There was a lot of diversity this year and a lot of dancing. There were also lots of great pianists and instrumentalists,” said Joe King, director.

Natalie Dess, senior, participated in the behind the scenes work of Show Circle, as well as helped the SIS students throughout the rehearsals and performances.

“The schedules of the rehearsals reflected what the high schoolers are involved with, and our crew just handled it really well. We had such a great crew this year, and it was better than last year,” Dess said.

Both Dess and King agree that everyone was very attentive and excited about Show Circle this year.

“The middle schoolers who were doing tech were really great compared to last year. They really seemed to want to learn and were super cooperative,” Dess said.

Alicia Obiakor, grade 7, was a vocalist performing at Show Circle and was selected to perform “Hello” by Adele at Showcase.

(Maeve McKaig) Mathilde Prosen-Oldani and Samars Eitel, eighth graders, perform “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” at Show Circle.

“Overall this was an amazing experience. I had never done anything like this before,” Obiakor said.

All agreed the event was very organized and set up to be a very enjoyable experience for the performers.

“I just loved all the activities we did in rehearsal, and getting some good feedback on what I should change in my song and how to perfect it. Everything was planned out perfectly,” Obiakor said.

This year proved to be very successful for Show Circle.

“Just hearing the crowd at the end of Friday night I could tell that there was a greater number of people that came,” Dess said.

“The performance went very smoothly; everyone was on top of their act and it sounded great. There were more people than I have ever seen before at Show Circle,” Froelich said.

“I think this year was better than last year because there were no obstacles, and we had a huge crowd this year to reflect our success,” King said.

World Class Talent- by Monica Dix

The relationship between Showcase and AFS exists in many forms.

Primarily, Showcase exists as the main fundraiser for American Field Services at Shorewood High School. The funds raised go toward costs of SHS’s AFS chapter, but mostly toward scholarships given out by Shorewood’s adult AFS chapter for Shorewood students. All proceeds from the show are split directly between the club and the drama department.

“The scholarships depend on financial need, the program and the number of students going abroad each year,” said Brian Schulteis, social studies teacher and AFS advisor.

It can cost from $5,000-$12,000 per semester.

“Unfortunately, international and cultural exchange is expensive, and through a great fundraiser like AFS Showcase, some of those expenses are alleviated through wonderful scholarships,” Schulteis said.

Sarah Goldberg, AFS co-president and senior, agrees.

“I think the scholarships are incredibly helpful … The cost can become a huge roadblock but the scholarships help make this less of a concern so the trip abroad can be a more helpful experience,” Goldberg said.

The influence of the show on AFS is reciprocated by AFS’s influence on the show, which is seen in several ways.

Zach Lipo Zovic, senior and Showcase director, has been participating in the show since his freshman year. As a director, he sees AFS’s mission and influence at work in the focus of the show.

“[When we decide] the acts that we let in and the people we try to get involved in Showcase we are very aware of representing the diversity of the student population and several cultures through either the type of music or the songs,” Lipo Zovic said.

Lipo Zovic said these ideas are reflected in the theme of the show.

“We want the theme to not only be applicable to the performing arts and the show but transcendent, but we also want it to translate to the AFS kids and their cultural experiences here and in their home countries,” Lipo Zovic said.

Showcase preview 2015-11-20
(Katie Eder) Seniors review the steps of the senior dance during a AFS Showcase rehearsal. The senior dance is one of many annual acts in the show.

He said he found last year’s theme, “Transitions,” to be a good example of this.

While AFS students have in the past performed in Showcase, their turn in the spotlight comes at the beginning of the second half of the show, when the three AFS students and Schulteis will give speeches.

“Those speeches will illuminate the experiences that Dorian, Al, and Umberto, [the exchange students], are having here in Shorewood, and I will speak about AFS,” Schulteis said.

“The students enjoy speaking long-term but in the short term they get really nervous. They’re speaking another language, talking in front of hundreds of people in a community they’ve only lived in for a couple months,” Goldberg said.

Dorian Kriedel, a current AFS student from Frankfurt, Germany, is one of the students that will be speaking.

“I’m excited because it’s my second speech in a foreign language … I’m excited to share about my life in Germany,” Kriedel said.

AFS Showcase “Rise Up”- by Celeste Carroll

Shorewood High School’s production of AFS Showcase, which benefitted the Shorewood AFS and drama programs, occurred on November 20 and 21, with the theme of “Rise Up.”

According to many involved, a highlight of the show this year was the fact that there was large variety of acts featured, showcasing a diverse amount of talents and abilities.

“I think [the show had] more variety than in year’s past,” said Joe King, drama director and Showcase producer. “I think the directors have done a great job of making a true variety show.”

Zach Lipo Zovic, senior and third year director, also said that this year’s selection of acts brought a new sense of diversity to the annual production.

“No two acts had the same energy, and I think that made this year’s Showcase really good, and very different. We [wanted] each act to tell a little story,” Lipo Zovic said. “We had everything from Missy Elliot to Stevie Wonder, to Jimi Hendrix and Chris Brown.”

Showcase has long been known for being student run; this year, the student directors included Lipo Zovic, Marie Matthias and Justine Spore, seniors, and Grace Anderson, Ellie Schmitt and Dayton Simenz, juniors.

King noted how Showcase included a large amount of student contributors, which highlights the theme of diversity and variety both in acts and participants.

“Between the cast and crew there [were] almost 130 performers working on stage and backstage. That is about 20% of the student body,” King said.

Schmitt, a first year director, agreed, saying that the large number of students involved had a positive impact on the high school and the village of Shorewood.

“We had every grade contributing to the show, which brings a better sense of community,” Schmitt said.

Regarding the theme of “Rise Up,” Matthias said there are many meanings and ways to interpret this year’s Showcase name.

“I like to think of it as rise up for what you believe in, rise up to the occasion and rise up as a person,” Matthias said. “It’s an overarching theme I think everyone can understand and relate to.”

Lipo Zovic said that this year’s Showcase was also something that not only allowed a diverse group of people with a variety of talents to perform, but something that allowed these students to grow as people through their act and by being in the annual production. Showcase, he said, is an experience that is certainly memorable.

“That’s really what we strive for — to get kids who normally wouldn’t have a performance experience like this and get them on the stage and let them know that feeling,” Lipo Zovic said. “There’s no greater feeling than the rush you get before the show starts, and there’s no better feeling than the calm and pride and love that you feel for everyone around you and the entire experience … when the curtain falls,” Lipo Zovic said.

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