By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM

In case you're wondering just what's going on in the public schools in the area these days ...

Cedarburg High School Community Service coordinators Patty Clapper and Diane Kennedy sent out a note today about a dance their students are hosting at Webster Transitional Middle School, W75 N624 Wauwatosa Rd., on Saturday.

You might ask, "So what, a high school dance?"

But the "Portal Prom: Shipwrecked in the Caribbean" isn't your typical high school dance. Instead it's a dinner (at 5:30 p.m.) and dance (7) for the disabled clientele of Portal Industries of North Ozaukee County.

"It usually isn't polite to brag, but in this case we hope to make an exception," write Clapper and Kennedy. "We want to brag about the
wonderful students we get to work with at Cedarburg High School.

"This weekend ... approximately 100 high school students will host a heart-warming event called Portal Prom ... an opportunity for the adults with disabilities to experience what most other high school students take for granted, namely going to their high school prom."

The Cedarburg public school students coordinate every facet of the event, from raising money to decorating the space to preparing a great dinner.

But that's not what makes it special, say the high school staffers.

"Most impressive is the way our students interact with the Portal guests. The two-hour dance is a highlight of the evening and it is a sight to behold. Students dancing beside whirling wheelchairs, students encouraging
Portal guests to dance with them, students swaying hand-in-hand with people they've never met before.

"This evening is a statement on the positive things our high school students are doing. The entire community should be aware and should be proud of these young adults."

MPS student artists "in Bloom": Just a few weeks after the scholastic art show closed at MAM, Students from Milwaukee Public Schools will participate in the Milwaukee Art Museum's annual "Art in Bloom: A Tribute to Art and Flowers," March 31-April 3.

MPS students collaborate with MAM for the first time on the event and will have artwork on display all four days. Students also created an outdoor installation on the Lincoln Memorial Drive pedestrian overpass to highlight the exhibit.

Those works have been hanging for a week or so already. This morning I wondered how they're surviving all this wet weather. But they appeared as vibrantly colored as ever.

The collaboration has been a rewarding one for students and for teachers, says, MPS art curriculum specialist Kim Abler.

"MPS art teachers are honored to be part of the public art installation. Our teachers loved the opportunity to contribute the colorful and expressive work of our talented students. What a great way to welcome spring to the city."

Among the students taking part are kids from Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities and Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School.

"The Milwaukee Art Museum is thrilled to showcase the creativity of young artists in our community," says art museum spokesperson Kristen Settle. "We are privileged to be able to infuse artwork from our public schools into the 'Art in Bloom' exhibit."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.