December 2011

                              This past spring the selection committee of the Laura Southwick Foundation

awarded grants to 6 young people. The committee hoped to receive applications from young people that, like Laura, needed encouragement to explore their dreams. By the deadline we received applications from 13 young people. All thirteen had merit, and the committee had a difficult time deciding how to distribute the funds we had available. In the best of all worlds we would have funded them all. In the end, though, we picked the following six:
        Ricardo, during the 2010-2011 school year, was a sophomore at Oak Park and River Forest High School (OP-RF). He is a violinist and has been playing since he was three years old. He plays in the OP-RF High School Symphony Orchestra and during  his sophomore year was high up in the first violin section. He applied to the Foundation for tuition assistance to attend the Birch Creek Music Center camp in Door County, Wis. During a two-week period beginning in late June, students play along side professional musicians who serve as faculty for the camp.
            A good friend said of him "I spent a year with him in the Chicago Youth Concert Orchestra, and during that time he became an integral part of the orchestra both musically and personally. He was able to form quality relationships with the players around him and work with them to make great music."
Emily Clark
        Emily was a freshman at OP-RF High School and she is an artist who now is exploring a variety of materials and techniques used by visual artists. She approached the Foundation with a request for funds to attend  the summer school of the Art Institute of Chicago. The course she selected introduces students to a variety of materials including charcoal, conte, wash and collage among others.         
Sarah Coffman
        Sarah was a junior at OP-RF High School. She applied to the Foundation for tuition assistance to attend the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. It was an intensive six-week music camp starting in July in Berkshire, MA. She is planning to major in voice in college and the camp was an opportunity to prepare for auditions as well as to build on her repertoire and technique.
             Anne Monson, a music teacher at Concordia University in River Forest, IL, says of her, "Her voice is beautiful and her musicianship has developed beyond that of most of her age because of the musical environment of her home well as her own work and exceptional natural talent. "
           Her teacher at OP-RF says of her, "Emily is currently enrolled in painting and is working on her second oil painting. She has completed a beautiful portrait using the artist Mary Cassatt as inspiration."  A close friend says of her, "... she has found her passion in her artwork and it has completely transformed her."
Emma-Claire LaSaine
THE FINAL TWO AWARDEES, EMMA-CLAIRE LaSAINE and NATALIE RICHARDSON REQUIRE SOME EXPLANATION. Although both were given awards by the Laura Southwick Foundation, neither of them accepted a monetary award. Emma-Claire requested funding to film a screen play that she had written. Logistics prevented this from happening and she suggested that the money be given to another applicant. In Natalie's case, she requested assistance to attend a James Joyce conference in Dublin . Although she attended the conference, Natalie did not draw down the funding that accompanied her award.
The funds appropriated to both awardees has stayed in the Foundation's fund and can be used next spring for additional awards.
        Emma was a freshman at OP-RF High School during the 2010 - 2011 school year. She submitted to the selection committee an 86-page final draft of an original screen play entitled "Entropy" that she had written. She applied for funds to begin production and filming of the play. She developed a network of people with technical and financial abilities to support her effort.
             Jay Lind, her teacher in the English department at OP-RF High School, says, Emma "...does not see things through the narrow view of a white, middle-class, American teenager; she has an open mind and she uses it well. Emma demonstrates this unique view of the world through insightful conversation, deft writing, and downright mind-blowing creativity."
            Although her project did not come to fruition, she graciously asked the foundation to fund another worthy applicant. We feel she has great promise and hope that the award itself encourages her to continue exercising her creative gifts.
Natalie Richardson
        Natalie also represents a talent with great promise. She was a sophomore at OP-RF High School and a poet. She submitted an original  poem to the selection committee that demonstrated a subtlety of thought and a mastery of language that seemed far beyond her years. The poem was personal, but universal.
            Her request was for support to attend a two-week conference in Dublin, Ireland with a group of nine other students from the high school. The conference brought together James Joyce scholars and teachers and it included a week-long tour of the Irish countryside to set the context for Joyce's work. She was able to join the trip through the assistance of her parents, staff members at the high school and her teacher, Brendan Lee.
        Luke was a freshman at OP-RF High School during the 2010 - 2011 school year. He is a singer who is going through a challenging period. Though he began singing in the Oak Park River Forest Children's Chorus since the second grade, his voice is changing. Because, as he says, "I love to make music. It calms my soul and fills me with joy." He has been studying privately with Christopher Richard and has been achieving some breakthroughs.
             Elaine Hlavach, the director of Vocal Music at the high school, says Luke, ..."is extremely diligent about working on his part, until it is absolutely perfect. He spends extra time working on learning words in different languages and note and rhythms that he finds challenging." Luke applied for funds to continue his vocal lessons.
Luke Wilder
This year we have decided to send this update to the people on our mailing list who have provided us with their e-mail address
via e-mail.
If any of you on the e-mail list would prefer receiving it by snail mail, please let us know at jbsouthwick@
If any of you on the regular mailing list would prefer receiving it by
e-mail, please send us an e-mail at jbsouthwick@ comcast. net
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Ricardo Castaneda

 As always, all of us on the Foundation's selection committee hope that you have a holiday season that is filled with wonder like a child's and that you make a dedication to work for justice and peace.
The Laura Southwick Foundation is a donor directed fund under the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation. All donations are tax deductable. A return envelope is enclosed for your comment or gift.
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