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Lizzie G Brings Positive Messages to CPS Students

By Kristin Boza

Lifelong Beverly/Morgan Park resident, Lizzie G, turned her love for the performing arts and rap into a career by motivating Chicago Public Schools middle and high school students. Through her company, Lizzie G Entertainment, she partners with schools to bring in programming that they often don’t have the funding for. Lizzie G’s impact on the lives of the youth throughout Chicago — and the world — is life-changing for many.

“A lot of schools are lacking in the arts, so I felt it was up to me to provide the space for children to be able to express themselves,” Lizzie G said. She creates after school programming for CPS schools, where middle and high schoolers can learn more about music, art, music management, creative writing, and more. Each program is tailored to the specific school’s needs.

Lizzie G also offers special programs during the day. “I perform concerts, motivational speaking, anti-bullying workshops, and more,” she said. “I am a partner with CPS, but I also bring my message to children all over the world.” Lizzie G is traveling to Haiti for the sixth year in a row, bringing school supplies and other donations to the neediest kids in Haiti.

A CPS graduate, Lizzie G attended Clissold Elementary School for 7th and 8th grades. Already bitten by the performing arts bug, Lizzie G attended Curie High School, which has an extensive performing arts program. After earning a BA from Northern Illinois University and a masters degree from Roosevelt University, Lizzie G decided to take her knowledge and give it back to the community by starting her company.

“Music was a hobby, but I started making it a career,” Lizzie G said. “Giving back to young people who will become the game-changers of tomorrow is very fulfilling. I can share my experiences with the kids and tell them how I pursued my dreams, and they can do it too.”

Lizzie G knows her music career has been helped tremendously by earning her undergrad and masters degrees. “A lot of the high school students I talk to think that they have to drop out of school to pursue a music career,” she said. “They think they can be rappers, and I’m trying to tell them to stay in school because college is a platform to perform music, get a fan base, and soak up all the knowledge you can.”

Beverly/Morgan Park helped shape Lizzie G’s life, which is one reason why she still calls it home. “I’m grateful that I’ve always been in a safe environment where I can go outside and practice rap for hours on my porch and not be bothered or in trouble with the police,” she said. “I could be creative here and I also appreciate the level of education I gained. I’m in a community with like-minded people who want to strive for success.” She reminisces about swimming in Kennedy Park pool and running laps on Morgan Park High School’s track. “I’ve been in the same house for my entire life. I love to travel, but it’s great to come home to this community.”

To assist her former elementary school, Lizzie G started a GoFundMe to benefit Clissold and four other South Side schools in getting new sound systems for their performing arts programs. To donate, visit gofundme.com/schoolsoundsystem.

Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club Motto: ‘Let Us Lead by Serving Others’

vanderpoel_school_junior_beta_club
By Maureen Cullnan

The red brick schoolhouse at 95th and Prospect Avenue is entering its second century, and under Principal Kia R. Banks, Vanderpoel Humanities Academy continues to offer students a high-quality, very well-rounded curriculum.

That curriculum includes Spanish, music, physical education, 21st Century technologies, fine and performing arts, sports and clubs.

The Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club is an academic honors program for students in 4th through 8th grades. The long-established program promotes academic achievement, character, service and leadership.

Director Shaunte Brewer first introduced the Junior Beta Club to Vanderpoel in 2014. She believes it provides students with numerous opportunities to expand their horizons through service and through leadership summits, state and national conventions. And she should know. She was President of her high school Senior Beta Club.

There are 30 members now at Vanderpoel, and Brewer expects more will join soon after the first report card.

Brewer believes that, “Leaders of tomorrow start today.”  Students run their meetings, propose their service projects, and vote on their priorities. They collaborate with other Vanderpoel clubs on service projects. Together with their 4H Club, they will serve breakfast to the residents of the Oak Lawn Ronald McDonald House in early 2017.

The Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club holds elections every year, which make officers directly accountable to members if they want to be re-elected. Students in all grades can run for an office in the club. They can also run for statewide offices.

Last year the Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club attended the state convention in Springfield, but this year they have set their sights on going to the National Junior Convention at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in June.

A magnet elementary school, Vanderpoel emphasizes the fine and performing arts. There is no attendance boundary and there is no test required. However, students must submit an application to be considered for admission through a computerized lottery. The entry year is kindergarten. The application deadline is Dec. 9.

If you have questions about Vanderpoel, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment, 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu.