Sep. 13 board meeting recognizes DGS group interpretation cast


Student board members and DGS state qualifiers address board at Sep. 13 meeting.

At the Sep. 13 board meeting, members of the group interpretation speech team shared about their success last spring at the state and sectional competitions despite the challenges of performing in the virtual world. Additionally, student board members presented updates on the activities and sports at both Downers Grove South and Downers Grove North. The board ultimately moved into closed session for the remainder of the meeting to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline or dismissal of any specific employees or volunteers of the district.

DGS Principal Ed Schwartz began the board meeting by introducing the first group interpretations speech team to make it to the state final in more than 25 years. The team won the sectional meet and placed fifth in the state meet. They were the only team in the top five at State who performed virtually, with all other placing teams performing live.

Group Interpretation is a 30 minute play unlike any other play done at DGS where students must perform in an abstract and artistic way. Unlike traditional speech, the play mostly consists of ensemble work where performers work to create a show using their bodies instead of having individual characters.

Seniors Gwen Royle and Samatha Bachara along with junior Catherine Hewawissa explained both the preparation and the ultimate bliss they felt after placing fifth at the state competition this past spring. Junior Catherine Hewissa elaborated on the challenges of preparing for the state meet virtually.

“Working online was definitely tough, I think we can all agree that everything online seemed kind of optional but it was really cool to be there with people who wanted to audition… It was everybody who was happy to be working online and just happy to be performing something all together,” Hewissa said.

Bachara expanded on how they found out about their fifth place finish.

“That day [of the awards ceremony] we were actually all together in a cast member’s backyard so we could have a little party just to celebrate what we accomplished… We got to see our name on screen and then we realized that we were the top zoom GI [Group Interpretations] and it was super fun being surrounded by all of our best friends and experiencing that together,” Bachara said.

Board member Mike Davenport shared his thoughts on the group’s achievements despite the pandemic.

“We are still living with so many negative things from last year, and it’s just so awesome to hear…Whenever someone comes to me and says that last year was a lost year I just want to send them to you,” Davenport said.

The meeting then moved to the Student Board Members who shared an update with the board on the activities at both DGS and DGN.

Student board members from both DGS and DGN update the board periodically throughout the school year on the activities and sports going on at both DGS and DGN. Seniors Scarlett Ohara and Jade Toledano detailed the ways the current school year has returned to a level of normalcy. Both students shared about the school inaugurations to show off the completed construction, the Young Heats for Life heart screenings and athletic programs that have had a high level of achievement this fall.

After hearing from the student board members the board moved into closed session.

Board president Nancy Kupka asked for a motion to move into closed session to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline or dismissal of any specific employees or volunteers of the district. This includes hearing testimony lodged against an employee. The board only came out of closed session to adjourn.