TECS Students Spring Into Art Season

By TECS News Team

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TECS Students Spring Into Art Season
TECS students Ailbe Millar and Paige Rockwell place a critter cover over one of the garden beds at the Garden Repair Day.
The budding artists of Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS) have an exciting Spring season ahead, with work from every student to be showcased in our wider canyon community. “The Topanga Elementary Student Art Show” is taking place at Topanga Library for three days from Wednesday, March 29 to Friday, March 31. Each young artist has been working on their individual creation for several weeks, supported by the school’s art teacher Randy Butler. It is hoped that every TECS student will display their artwork at the special gallery show. On April 16, the Topanga Elementary Variety Show is taking place at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, with dozens of students participating in The Wizard of Oz-themed production, and perform on the magical outdoor stage. The event will be emceed by the musician and comedian Stacie Burrows, who performed her show, Bulletproof Unicorn, at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts and media festival. There will be musical performances, aerial silks, comedy, and much more in what promises to be a fun and uplifting occasion. Both events are organized by Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP) and the school’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) committee, and made extra special by taking place in the heart of the local community. “The theme of this year’s Variety Show is going to be the journey through Oz,” said VAPA chair Stephanie Polansky. “It will be a lot of fun and very interactive for everybody. We’re delighted to have Stacie on board to emcee. She’s a great talent and will keep both the kids and the adults entertained. The Theatricum is such an iconic venue, and we’re incredibly grateful that they have donated it for our use. It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity for the students to perform on that stage.
Tickets for the Variety Show are available now at bit.ly/41viFI1.
“I’m also excited to see the student art gallery come to life at the library. Randy is doing a wonderful job helping to pull the students’ work together, and it’s great for the kids to be able to show off their talents in a public space. From what I’ve seen, they’re all enjoying expressing themselves, while also taking it very seriously,” Polansky said.
Visual and performing arts, along with science, are the pillars of the school’s charter, and Polansky is excited to share the students’ hard work with all Topanga residents, especially after the recent break from group gatherings due to the pandemic. “These are great community events to bring everyone together,” she said. “It’s what Topanga is all about.”
The Art Show is being led by first-grade mom Belle Millar, the library staff, and a team of parent volunteers. The opening night will be for the young artists and their families, with the room open to the public on Thursday and Friday. Organizers are looking for artwork from parents and other community members to sell at the event.

Auction Items Wanted
Topanga Elementary’s specialist art teacher and science teacher Jeffrey Esparza, along with technology classes, physical education coaches, and classroom aides, are among the enrichment staff paid for by the donations of generous families, .
The Online Auction, which goes live in April, is an excellent opportunity for the community to contribute to the school so every child can continue to benefit from these staff and resources that LAUSD doesn’t pay for.
The auction committee is looking for donations for the fundraising sale, which could be a few nights in a vacation home, tickets to a sporting event, gift cards, or any other products that fellow Topanga residents would enjoy. Or perhaps you could use your skills and offer a class or service to bidders, like photography lessons or private yoga sessions. Those who would like to offer a donation should contact auction@topangaelementary.org.

Clint Rockwell and Eric DeLeon work on the critter cages at the Garden Repair Day.
Photos by Kelly Rockwell. James Campbell-Collins and his daughter, first-grader Maggie, prepare the beds at the Garden Repair Day.
TECS Gardens
Continue to Bloom
Topanga Elementary parents and students braved the drizzle earlier this month to continue the excellent work going into rejuvenating the garden beds on campus. Several families showed up with their tools, skills, and community spirit for “Garden Repair Day” on Sunday, March 5. Andy Zuchero and Sam Jacober were the Science Committee leads for building the critter covers to protect the plants. Each TECS class has its own wooden raised bed and are enjoying biweekly gardening lessons as part of the science enrichment at the school.
TECS parent, Kelly Rockwell, who is among those spearheading the gardening initiative, said, “Topanga has a way of bringing people together for common goals. This project was a real team effort and I’m so grateful that the seeds we are planting in our classes will have a chance to fully bloom. The support from faculty, staff, parents, and students really shows there is a desire for outdoor education and environmental science, and it’s great to be part of that.”

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March 17, 2023