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November 8, 2023
by: Ted Hamm

New program gives EHS students access to artistic professionals

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A new collaboration between Étude High School and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center will give students new artistic insights for special projects.

The newly created fellowship program gives a small group of students who excel at project-based learning access to the JMKAC experts for projects that integrate academic concepts with art forms. 

Led by teachers Molly King, Michael Hanlon and Principal Ted Hamm, the inaugural program involves seven students who are planning special projects that tie in to the Arts Centers current theme: Kin. 

“In the future there will be an application process,” King said. “This year, we chose students based on their proposals who have shown high-level thinking and proficiency and advanced projects in the past. It’s an opportunity for students to take it to new level, utilizing partnerships in the community.”

Hanlon, who teaches theater and film, said working with professionals gives students more in-depth insights than they would get in classes. 

“Our film class is introductory … this allows me to help them with more advanced skills,” he said. “Editing programs, a deeper look at how to get clean audio, using lighting to communicate to the audience — those things don’t fall under ‘Tell a story, shoot, edit.’ We’re getting them interactions with people who do that professionally as well.”

At least three of the students are planning film projects, and their resulting projects will be part of the portfolios they use to apply to film schools in the future, he said. 

Students will have access to the JMKAC’s galleries and curatorial staff, and it’s likely some will make more use of that than others. 

“This is about critical thinking,” said Ted Hamm. “It’s about how to make connections, observe something, interpret something; a broad- based skill.” 

The resulting projects will be showcased, possibly at a special event just for the student artists to present their work. 


 The JMKAC Fellowship projects are: 

Matilde Guevara, junior

Matilde’s project will be an art piece exploring how media, especially tropes and memes, encourage people to view others as just background characters in the show of which they’re the star. Social media has exacerbated the problem, skewing the way people see each other. “People have started filming others, as in ‘Look at this poor person,’ even though they’re probably people going about their day.” 

Matilde, 16, is planning to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and study studio arts. She’s a lifelong Étude student.  

Sammantha Lewis, junior

Sammantha’s project is a film about the Humane Society and what they do for the community. She’ll focus on the animals that have been in the shelter the longest and explore why they aren’t getting adopted. She has begun by researching puppy mills and how animals are adopted and sold, and made a discovery about the local pet market. “PetSmart (in Sheboygan) gets animals from the Humane Society. Some (pet stores) get pets from puppy mills.” Her objective is to showcase animals that need good homes. 

Sammantha, 16, plans to attend business school after high school and is looking toward a career in real estate. Her goal is to make it easier for people to find good homes. She’s been an Étude student since seventh grade.

Autumn Wooding, junior

Autumn is planning either an art or interactive piece about mental health, especially children’s mental health. Her research has included materials from the CDC, and she’s taken classes on childcare. “Right now, I’m looking at PTSD and how it develops in a child, how it affects their development.” 

Autumn, 16, works at A Million Dreamz childcare center and is considering a career in early childhood education. She’s been an Étude student since eighth grade. 

Kore Corbett, junior

Kore will create a statue of Beelzebub, of Christian mythology, out of soft materials like Styrofoam and fabric. The research includes depictions of Beelzebub by a French artist who drew him from his reputation and from text in the Bible. 

Kore, 16, is planning to go straight into the workforce after high school. “Wherever the world needs me, I’ll be there.” Kore has been an Étude student from the beginning with the exception of eighth and ninth grades. 

Lili Heinen, senior

Comet Pasterski, junior

Lili and Comet are working together on a series of six short films about how to make the most of college admissions, including how to create and organize student portfolios to give colleges the information they need. Their focus is on filmmaking: They are planning to experiment with genres, work on the writing, acting and filming together and handle every aspect of the production themselves.  

Lili, 17, plans to go to film school at UCLA, though “I’ll settle for NYU.” Her plan includes a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, internships and all the additional study she might need. “I want to do film as my career for the rest of my life.” She started at Étude in seventh grade. 

Comet, 16, is planning to attend Columbia College Chicago and get a bachelor’s degree in film and television. “If not, then NYU or UCLA.” Comet started at Étude in seventh grade.  

Grace Hamm, junior

Grace will create and perform a dance about the evolution of women’s rights. Her research has included historical milestones as well as current cultural phenomena like the Barbie movie. “I want to make (viewers) understand how we got to where we are now, why it is so bad. Rights are being taken away; maybe we can help. Everyone is related to at least one woman — it would be kind of weird if you didn’t care.” 

 Grace, 16, plans to attend business school at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and her dream is to create a rehabilitation sanctuary for horses. She’s a lifelong Étude student. 

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