Enriched World Literature students spend the day at Mount St. Mary’s park


Photo by Leslie Fireman

Leslie Fireman’s second-hour class take a group photo next to Mr. Eggwards.

By Carlos Espinoza, Reporter

On September 10, approximately 60 West Chicago High School students from the Enriched World Literature class took a field trip to Mount St. Mary’s Park in St. Charles to explore the purpose of art and literature.

The students went to Mount St. Mary’s Park to look at the sculptures and discuss the inspiration behind them. 

Joanna Trejo, Leslie Correa, and April Cuautle take a break from the sun. (Photo by Leslie Fireman)

English teacher Kelsey Wirkus said, “One of the essential questions that Enriched World Lit students answer is what is the purpose of art and literature. Although art may seem unrelated to the English classroom, literature is a form of art and I would argue that art and literature have a similar purpose. In our classroom, we spend a lot of time thinking about the purpose of literature but not art. This field trip gave us an opportunity to explore artwork and its purpose. Ultimately, students should be able to answer this question by the end of the quarter.”

The field trip began in the Community Room at West Chicago High School, where students received an overview of the park and the field trip and were introduced to one of the artists: Seward Johnson. Johnson is known for his lifelike statues, of which at least one can be found in the park each year. The students were challenged to make their own sculptures by taking a picture of themselves posing in a creative way.

Students have a picnic on Mount St. Mary’s lawn. (Photo by Leslie Fireman)

When the students arrived at the park, they were given a guided tour on the artwork, which included pieces from local artists, such as Todd Willing, Ray Kobald and John McNamara, as well as pieces from artists around the country, including Pokey Park, Bruce Niemi and Jane L. Davidson. The students were instructed to take their own photos of the sculptures so they would be able to post images on their blogs (another Enriched World Literature project), and so that they would be able to discuss the art with their classmates.

Israel Gonzalez and Katrina Dy reminisce abut their elementary days at Mount St. Mary’s Park in St. Charles. (Photo by Leslie Fireman)

Senior David Bartler said, “On the field trip we looked at tons of different artwork that was either local or from far away. Not a single piece of art was the same, each piece had its own unique aspect about it, and they all had their own message that went along with it.”

After the photos were gathered, students were able to sit down, have a picnic, and discuss the art pieces before returning to school.

The field trip went really well! The students seemed to really enjoy the artwork and sharing their opinions about it. By the end of the tour, I could tell that the students were really thinking about what each piece of artwork meant and why it was there (even if it wasn’t their favorite piece),” said Wirkus.

The field trip to Mount St. Mary’s marks a return to regular high school field trips, and will hopefully be the first of many to come.