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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Tue
Hi: 27
Lo: 19
Wed
Hi: 32
Lo: 23
Thu
Hi: 27
Lo: 15
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Sixteen Highland Community School adolescents left for China, but only 15 came home last week.
Sixteen Highland Community School adolescents left for China, but only 15 came home last week. (Photo: Highland Community School blog/Facebook)
Now, however, Sophia is back!
Now, however, Sophia is back! (Photo: Highland Community School blog/Facebook)

Highland Community School's China trip is now "officially" complete

When Mayor Tom Barrett visited Highland Community School on Monday to welcome home a group of adolescent students from China, the trip -- according to the students themselves -- wasn't officially over yet. Today, it is officially complete.

The 16 eighth- and ninth-grade students traveled to participate in China's first-ever Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) International Conference, in Zhengzhou in Henan Province. They landed there on Nov. 14 after a 27-hour journey, and details of the trip are here.

Though the group -- which posted frequent updates on Facebook and its Tumblr blog -- returned via O'Hare on Friday and was welcomed back in an event at the school yesterday with the mayor, the students posted this on Saturday:

"If you see HCS adolescents wearing their sky blue MMUN (Montessori Model UN) wristbands early next week, they are wearing them as a symbol of support for Sophia and to express that our trip is not complete until EVERYONE is home!"

Sophia Westcott didn't come home with her 15 classmates last week because after a freak accident at breakfast on Thursday, she was in the hospital, an experience she wrote about on the school blog.

Though she herself was feeling at fault -- writing, "I realize how much of a burden I am being and I apologize for that" -- her friends definitely didn't seem to feel the same way and later the same day posted on Facebook, "Breaking news from Zhengzhou: Sophia just released from Zhengzhou Yihe Hospital!"

As a parent of a child at a school discussing taking part in the MMUN, as well as a public Montessori booster, I followed the Highland adolescents' trip with interest. And when I heard about Sophia, I thought about her, the dedicated teacher who remained behind with her in China -- Veronica Mancheno -- and especially Sophia's parents back in Milwaukee and what they all must be feeling.

Now, I'm thrilled to be able to report that Westcott is home -- having touched down at O'Hare at around 11 last night -- as …

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21st Street School, razed in 1977, is one of the buildings featured in a new exhibit a Milwaukee' Central Library.
21st Street School, razed in 1977, is one of the buildings featured in a new exhibit a Milwaukee' Central Library.

Library explores Milwaukee's historic schoolhouses with exhibit and panel

I'm honored to work with the good folks at Milwaukee Public Library's Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., on a small exhibit and panel discussion that look into Milwaukee's historic public schoolhouses.

In recent weeks, I teamed with librarians in the library's Art, Music & Recreation and Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room -- as well as with staff from the Wisconsin Architectural Archive housed at Central -- to put together a small look at some of the schools that have meant so much to so many Milwaukeeans.

There are original architectural drawings and vintage photographs of five schools: 21st Street School (razed), Walnut Street School (razed), McKinley School (vacant), Maryland Avenue School (still in use) and the old Gaenslen School building (razed).

These can be seen in glass cases in the main corridor outside the Zeidler Room on the second floor of the Central Library from today until Dec. 18.

A related event, "Milwaukee Public School Buildings: Past, Present & Future, A Discussion," is a panel discussion slated for Monday, Dec. 8 from 6:30 until 8 p.m. in the Loos Room in Centennial Hall, 733 N. 8th St. Admission is free and all are invited.

We've tapped veteran education reporter Alan Borsuk -- who is now Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy at Marquette University Law School -- to moderate the discussion about the history of Milwaukee's vintage schoolhouses, their architectural significance, their ongoing educational efficacy, efforts to landmark and preserve some of them and more.

The panel consists of District 4 Ald. Robert Bauman, who was recently a key figure in the city's historic designation of McKinley School, Historic Milwaukee Inc. director Stacy Swadish, MPS' Director of Facilities and Maintenance Gina Spang

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Students at MPS' Anna M. Doerfler School working on an art project.
Students at MPS' Anna M. Doerfler School working on an art project.
The students work at the intersection of 30th and Scott Streets on Milwaukee's South Side.
The students work at the intersection of 30th and Scott Streets on Milwaukee's South Side.

Art project teaches Doerfler students about advocacy and community engagement

Today, I got an email from my friends at Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.) about a project the group did this autumn with kids at MPS' South Side Anna F. Doerfler Community School in conjunction with Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN) and the COA CLC program.

They worked together to create a public art installation alongside A.W.E. artists John Kowalczyk and Diego Heredia.

I was happy to see that the students are working with Ald. Bob Donovan to get some community input for the project.

Here's what A.W.E. Executive DirecorBeth Haskovec wrote:

"Ten seventh and eighth grade students from COA Youth and Family Center’s CLC program have been working with Kowalczyk and Heredia to envision an intersection mural to be installed at 30th and Scott. The installation would beautify the neighborhood and build youth visibility and leadership.

This project exemplifies what A.W.E. is all about- pairing young people with professional artists to collaborate and design something for their own neighborhood.

"The A.W.E. art installation in the Silver City neighborhood fulfills two key components of our neighborhood Quality of Life Plan, namely Neighborhood Appearance and Youth Education and Leadership," said Dan Adams, Layton Boulevard West Neighbors Neighborhood Plan Coordinator. "With 33 percent of the population under the age of 18, we are excited to see local youth collaborating on this public art installation that will build on our recent successful efforts to make Layton Boulevard West a destination for the arts."

The students wrote to Donovan to explain the project and its goals.

"We spent a month working and learning about public art," they wrote. "We would like to accomplish what we have started. We are not just doing art. We are doing feelings! It expresses what the neighborhood can do ... we are making history."

This week, the students are going door to door to talk to neighbors about their proposal and the alderman's office is sending info…

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I wouldn't have believed you could have a Milwaukee without Radio Doctors, but here you go.
I wouldn't have believed you could have a Milwaukee without Radio Doctors, but here you go.

6 Milwaukee record shops I miss

I’ve been a record store rat since I was about 9 (no, I won’t tell you how many years ago that was), but I’ve whiled away countless hours in the dens of wonder, from sea to shining sea and even beyond.

Luckily, there are still some great record shops in town, but not nearly as many as there used to be. Here are six lost Milwaukee places that I wish were still here (in no particular order)...

Tropical Records

In addition to his "Jamaican Winds" radio show on WLUM-FM, Nigel Scott ran this Caribbean vinyl emporium on 27th and Wells. When I arrived here, I’d walk across the 27th Street viaduct in the snow to get there. If I eschewed the bus, I could afford another gem from Nigel’s timeless stash of great 45s, LPs and 12"s. Like any self-respecting reggae shop, the records were alphabetized by first name.

When he shuttered the shop, he’d still invite me over to his northwest side house to cherry pick stock. Nigel was a gem and I miss his shop as much for him as for the records I got there.

Atomic/Ludwig Van Ear 

What to say about Atomic and its predecessor? Rich Menning had what has to be Milwaukee’s most landmark-worth record store, after, maybe, Radio Doctors. What he didn’t stock -- which wasn’t much in the world of alternative and punk rock records -- he’d order. In addition to stocking and supporting local bands -- and hosting in-store performances -- he hired knowledgeable staff, who were often local musicians. Also like Radio Doctors, it seemed like a place that would never go away.

Audie’s/Audio Vibe

When I was devouring hip-hop and club records in the second half of the 1980s, Audie’s on 23rd and Capitol (first on the south side of Capitol and later across the drive) had it all. I dropped more coin there than I probably should have.

Mean Mountain Music

For a while I had an unquenchable thirst for vintage R&B, especially the great 45s that flowed from Detroit in the 1960s and early ‘70s via Groovesville, Ric-Tic, Golden World, W…

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