Harvey High School Fundraiser
On Tuesday evening, March 12th, we went to the Painesville Harvey High School Band Boosters Spaghetti Dinner which was the primary fundraising event for the year for the Band Boosters whose mission is “to bring together parents and staff to promote the welfare of the children, school and community , to establish a closer working relationship with each other, to cultivate fellowship among the organization members and to contribute to the highest possible standards of the band.”
We found out that the spaghetti dinner was taking place on the Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce website which read, “this event will generate money to support the Harvey Band program, assisting with the purchase of instruments, uniform, and other essentials to make our students successful. In addition, our fundraising events directly benefit our Harvey High School bad helping to fund performances at exciting locations and events ranging from Walt Disney World to Cleveland Cavalier games.”
While we were at the dinner, we listened to a terrific performance by the Harvey High School Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Mr. Amir Jones, the band director who is, himself, a Painesville native and has lived in the Lake County area for his entire life.
We also enjoyed some excellent spaghetti that was cooked just right (not mushily overcooked or so undercooked to be crisp) which was prepared and served to us by such steadfast volunteers as Dr. Joshua M. Englehart who, in addition to performing kitchen duties, just happens to be the Painesville Schools Superintendent.
As we ate, we chatted with Painesville City Local School Board members who told us that Harvey High School is one of the most ethnically diverse schools in the vicinity and that the Painesville community is very supportive of its efforts which was evidenced by the excellent turnout for this weeknight occasion.
In addition to the Jazz Ensemble, Harvey High School has several other melodious companies including its Concert Band, Marching Band, Pep Band and Wind Ensemble. At this time, the Marching Band has approximately 140 members which is really great considering that not that many years ago interest was waning but then Mr. Jones assumed his current post and revitalized the entire musical program. As a result, quite a few students are giving music serious consideration as a career. What’s more, a ardent fan told us that the marching band sounds great and “a lot of spirit is raised because of it.”
On Wednesday evening, March 13th, we attended the monthly meeting of the Cleveland American Middle East Organization aka C.A.M.E.O. that took place at Al Pita Mediterranean Cuisine on Detroit Road in Rocky River. On this occasion, the speaker for the evening was Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Marilyn B. Cassidy who has served on the bench since January, 2007. At this time, Judge Cassidy spoke of her experiences supervising the court’s human trafficking docket wherein 160 victims are being guided through a specialized treatment two-year program that thus far has been completed by 25 women with 4 more due to graduate in June, 2019. This may not seem like a lot but considering the trauma that these people have suffered it is truly impressive.
Judge Cassidy made it clear that human trafficking is going on throughout the Cleveland area, as well as Ohio as a whole, and that the young women involved (i.e. men surprisingly are not arrested very often) quite often are local; it is not only international women being smuggled into the United States who are being victimized. Not surprisingly, this is a matter very close to Judge Cassidy because, as a former public health nurse, it is consistent with her training in a helping profession. She also spoke of the need for bond reform so that non-violent offenders, with the help of some monitoring, do not have to spend time in jail prior to trial but those who pose a risk to public safety can be detained. In terms of the foreign-born, Judge Cassidy has also handled domestic violence cases involving people who have immigrated to the United States. Along these lines, she noted that on several occasions the attorneys (most likely public defenders) have endeavored to obtain a U visa for the victims.
Other prominent Jurists also attended the meeting: Judge Ray Headen (Court of Appeals), Judge Maureen Clancy (Court of Common Pleas), Judge Michelle Sheehan (Court of Appeals), Judge Pinkey S. Carr (Cleveland Municipal Court), and Judge Gayle Williams-Byers (South Euclid Municipal Court).
We also got to meet Mr. Noor Alq who founded Al Pita only 2 years ago. He told us that he immigrated to the United States from Jordan some 8 years prior and is also attending college where he is studying mechanical engineering. If this were not enough, he is also working on establishing a food truck which will provide Middle Eastern cuisine to its clientele. We then overheard him say to a friend that the establishment of Al Pita was a “dream come true.” Unbelievably, Mr. Alq is only 23 years old!
Captain Marvel at the Happy Dog
On Thursday evening, March 14th, we went to the Happy Dog on Detroit Avenue for a City Club of Cleveland panel discussion titled “Higher, Further, Faster: Women Leading Superhero Films (and the World)’ moderated by our friend, Ms. Julia Wang, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator.
The distinguished panel featured:
- Dr. Vera Camden, Ph.D., Professor of English, KSU; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, CWRU; and Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center
- Mr. Peter Coogan, Director of the Institute of Comics Studies and author, “Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre”
- Ms. Whitney Porter, Teaching Fellow, KSU and Ohio Center for the Book Scholar-in-Residence, Cleveland Public Library
- Mr. Valentino Zullo, Teaching Fellow; Ohio Center for the Book Scholar-in-Residence, Cleveland Public Library; and Maternal Depression Therapist, Ohio Guidestone
This discussion was quite timely because the film, “Captain Marvel” starring Brie Larson in the title role was just released on March 8th and has already grossed some $550.2 million worldwide. As we read from the City Club notes, the comic strip character first appeared in 1968, however, as a supporting character and went on on to have her own solo series in 1977 wherein she was Ms. Marvel who eventually became Captain Marvel in 2012. Accordingly, the panelists discussed the character’s evolution as well as the role of women as superheroes in comic strips.
We admit to being very much in the dark about this subject matter because we haven’t seen the Captain Marvel movie nor are we comic strip enthusiasts. Nevertheless, we wanted to attend this event because we realize that comic strips and movies inspired by them contain themes and messages very relevant to current world events.
For instance, from the library we checked out a book “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from the Twilight Zone” by Mark Dawidziak which explains how different episodes reinforce such life lessons as “be your own person”, “make the most of the time you’ve got”, and “the universe does not revolve around you.”
During the Q and A, we queried the panelists about the social significance of Captain Marvel series and were told that it contains very relevant positive statements and feminism and using one’s gifts to help the disadvantaged which is what Captain Marvel does in the film when she comes to the aid of some refugees (aka the “skrulls”) which leads to the reunification of a family.
What’s more, we learned that there is a Marvel Comics character named Kamala Khan who is a young Muslim woman from New Jersey with Pakistani roots who becomes a superhero. Not comfortable with the traditional superhero costume, Ms. Khan designs her own which is consistent with her culture. As explained to us, it seems to be a valuable treatise on progressing as a person while maintaining core values.
For newcomers such as us, we were appreciative of “Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop” in Kamm’s corner for sending a representative with some free Marvel comic books to acquaint us with the series.
Also, we shared a booth with Laura and Hannah, a mother and daughter who are devoted science fiction/superhero fans. Laura told us that it was neat growing-up with the original “Star Wars” movies series and introducing her children to the latest installments that they loved. The Marvel Comics/Avenger movies are special to them because they often are released around the time of several familial birthdays so watching the films together as a unit is special indeed. Hannah, in fact, is studying animation at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
After visiting with Laura and Hannah and listening to the panel, we resolved that “Captain Marvel” will be the next film that we see.