Art Teacher at Immaculate Conception Academy to Be Featured in a Documentary

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Marybeth Tereszkiewicz, art teacher at Immaculate Conception Academy, launches Summer Arts Camp in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, and will be featured in a documentary to be released this year.

Immaculate Conception Academy Art Teacher, Marybeth Tereskiewicz, in Africa

Immaculate Conception Academy Art Teacher, Marybeth Tereskiewicz, in Africa

I think we have achieved more than any of us dreamed possible. - Ben Henderson, CEO of David Rattray Foundation.

Marybeth Tereszkiewicz, art teacher at Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA), a college preparatory high school, and Vernon Bush, ICA’s choir director, will be featured in a documentary to be released this year. The documentary will highlight a summer arts camp led by Marybeth and Vernon in KwaZulu Natal, rural South Africa. The camp is funded by the David Rattray Foundation and boasts Prince Charles of England as their Honorary Trustee.

Marybeth and Vernon were given the opportunity to fully create the summer camp program. In January 2012, they journeyed to South Africa for two weeks and led two camps. The camps, which were for 13-18 year old South African students, were designed to celebrate how African culture influenced North American hip hop, gospel and South American Afro-Brazilian music and dance. Drawing this connection helped build a sense of pride among otherwise impoverished rural South African young people.

This program and the foundation focus on education as a way of lifting children out of poverty. They also seek to help bring reconciliation between white and black South Africans post-Apartheid. Among the students who participated in the program, 40% were orphaned and 40% were HIV positive. Marybeth described the program as an opportunity for the Zulu students to experience joy, foster unity and nurture their Zulu culture.

Ben Henderson, CEO of the foundation, wrote to Marybeth after the summer camps were completed, “The general assessment was that all the children who had attended the camps returned more confident, assertive, enthusiastic, communicative and open. They spoke out more freely, expressed themselves better and were now assuming leadership roles in their various groups or classes.” He finished with, “I think we have achieved more than perhaps any of us dreamed might be possible.”

Marybeth continues to build connections between American and South African students. She taught her ICA students the hip hop dance about empowerment that she taught the students in KwaZulu Natal. A video of the dance, with both American and African students performing, can be found on YouTube under “ubunye/unity.”

A documentary is currently being created about Marybeth and Vernon’s summer camp experience along with general reconciliation efforts. The documentary is set to be released this year. For more information about ICA’s Art program and the David Rattray Foundation’s Cross-Cultural Summer Arts Camp, please contact Katie Mayberry, Marketing and Events Specialist at ICA, (415) 824-2052 x40.

About ICA
Immaculate Conception Academy, a Catholic college preparatory school, educates young women for a life of faith, integrity and service. As a Cristo Rey school in the Dominican tradition, they are committed to providing both excellent education and meaningful corporate work study experiences to students of limited financial resources. Learn more about ICA at http://www.icacademy.org. Learn more about Cristo Rey at http://www.cristoreynetwork.org.

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Katie Mayberry
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