Saturday, April 24, 2010

Letter from SHS Alumni President

This is a letter that went out this week to all emails that are on the Listserve. Please sign up at

April 22, 2010
Greetings Alumni and Friends of Shorewood High School!

I hope this email finds you well, and Happy Earth Day! You may have read that Shorewood Village just voted to stop putting chemicals on its green spaces. The High School already has a green practice, but now knowing that all public lawns are safe for kids and pets (and for sitting on to watch the fireworks) is great news!

This just in! An SHS Alumnus has just won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting! Congratulations to Raquel Keirn Rutledge, Class of 1986, at the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel. Welcome to the Wikipedia list of famous Alumni! The link:

I just attended the April, 2010, National Educational Foundation Association conference in Oak Brook, IL, and was pleasantly surprised to find out how ahead of the crowd we are with our Alumni Association. For example, we officially have our own 501c3 Charitable Organization status, so we can guarantee the direction of your donation is the intended one. Yes, you can now choose SHS Alumni Association on your Pick'n'Save card donation, or list it on the Target Visa GivesBack program. Your SHS Alumni Association is based on a genuine desire to connect alumni and friends with each other and the school, is actively utilizing social media to generate new opportunities for communication, and is not just a fund raising operation.

To support reunion organizers, for example, we are working on securing our sales tax exemption certificate to help save money, and we currently are able to offer reunion planners a template for web presence and Facebook, a starting list on Google Docs for working collaboratively with us on your class list, and more! Email

Here in Shorewood it is chilly and we are bracing for the closing of Capitol Drive from Oakland to Lake Drive in a few days. Hope to see you on May 8 at the Spring Musical (see below) or July 10 for the All-Class Reunion. Please forward this email to any friends of the Shorewood community who might be interested in receiving this news - they can jump on the Listserve if they'd like at

On May 8, the Shorewood High School Drama Department will be hosting an Alumni Night of the Spring Musical, Les Miserables. Showtime is at 8pm. Call 414-963-6940 for tickets. They're $12. We'll see you there!

Barbara Gensler, Drama Director, has written an open letter to alumni, parents and friends, calling for support for the Costume Department, which is being cut. We are working on getting this letter distributed to the community in other ways, and you have Barbara's blessing to post it wherever you can. I wanted you to see it first-hand, because she wrote it for you.

Barbara is recovering from breast cancer and this week, from a blood clot which required hospitalization. Any recovery cards for her may also be sent to the School or the SHS Alumni Association, PO Box 11427, Shorewood, WI 53211. - I check the mail and see her at rehearsals twice a week.

"Dear Drama Alumni, Friends of SHS Drama and Parents,

After 40 years spent in a joyous career, I find myself in the position of having to ask for your help. Up to this time the Shorewood Drama Department has been solvent and successful in its drive for excellence in all aspects of the theater arts. Our shows have continued to wow audiences on stage and back stage. Unfortunately, Shorewood School District is going through tough monetary times and although our academics continue to be strong, our sports achievements high and all of our arts areas excel, there must be budget cuts. The drama department has been cut before, five years ago we lost the full time drama teacher at SIS, seven years ago we lost our make-up advisor, then our 7th hour publicity advisor, and last year, our freshman acting instructor. We are down to two teachers who are part time drama teachers adding up to one full time teacher and a costume aide. We no longer have a feeder system, a makeup or publicity teacher 7th hour. We have managed without them by accepting more and more responsibility. Unfortunately, the cut proposed once again for the 2010-2011 school year will devastate us and neither of us can pick up the slack. It has been proposed that our costume position be eliminated. Last year, this was proposed and by giving up the freshman acting instructor and some donations, we held the position. Now this year, we are asked to give up the costume position as well. By losing the position, we lose the costume inventory that has been cherished for the past fifty years-we still have some WPA built costumes in our collection. Costumes are not a frill. It is an integral part of dramatic arts. We need to try to keep the position and I need your help.

If we can raise enough money to cover this position for one year that may allow us to keep it in the future. The salary is $15,000 and benefits. I am not asking for huge donations from a few people, although that would be wonderful, I am asking that you help us with whatever you can afford. Your donation must be designated for supporting the costumer’s position in order for us to receive the credit. Please help us keep Shorewood Drama in tact. Hopefully this department will continue to train students in the three most important areas of theater.
Barbara Gensler"

Mail tax deductible donations to SHS Alumni Assn with the Re: line of COSTUMES, P.O. Box 11427, Shorewood, WI 53211 or go to the website at to donate via credit card.

Thank you so much for considering a gift for this important piece of Shorewood's legacy. For those of you who have already contributed, thank you for your generous donations! We are up to $5,730 of the $15,000 goal.
Note: The SHS Alumni Association will cover all merchant fees for online credit card processing so that your full online donation will go towards the Barbara Gensler Costume Fund.
More detail and an itemized donation list by class, neighborhood, and even corporate gifts is available at

All Thespians, Dragons, and Drama Club Presidents are encouraged to help out - but also those folks who never made it past the pit chorus (that would be me, don't laugh)!

Suggested Breakdown (feel free to add costume-related categories! Maybe First time in a blonde wig? First time in a dress (guys only)?):
100 A-tonal Pit Chorus Singers who never got a costume: $10
100 Got on Stage (and a costume!) that one time in Showcase: $25
100 Dragons Forever!: $50
50 Creative Costumers: I still sew and remember that time like no other experience in my life $100
50 Barbara Gensler Discovered Me and Changed My Life: $100
50 Family Legacy: We have at least two generations of SHS Drama people: $100
50 Drama Club Presidents - the Extra Responsibility helped me get my two-comma job now: $500

Any overage will go to launch a Drama Department Designated Fund, and if it grows, will become a Drama Endowment. Now that the Alumni Association is it's own legitimate 501c3 charitable organization, we can put these elements in place with your help, guarantee tax deductible status for your donation, and also guarantee excellent accounting practices and face-to-face and frequent communication with Barbara Gensler herself. The deadline for contributions is May 1, 2010 if you would like to be mentioned (no amounts listed) in the Spring Musical Program, June 1, 2010 for all donations, including corporate gifts (new and growing is the new SHS Alumni Business Alliance on Facebook for a growing list of Alumni-owned businesses or contractors).

Please email us a notification if you have reproduced Barbara Gensler's letter for publication or have distributed it to neighbors on your block. This movement has a life of its own, we'd just like to track it as best we can!

Jenny Steinman Heyden
SHS Alumni President

PO BOX 11427
Shorewood, WI 53211

To find out more about budget cuts to Shorewood, check out the Shorewood Ripples at (specifically Follow SHS Alumni Association at SHSAlumAssoc on Twitter!

You are invited to support the all-volunteer SHS Alumni Association through a membership, this year's form available here: - please mail to the PO BOX 11427 so we are securely receiving your donations.

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