BERWYN – The halls and courtyards of J. Sterling Morton West High School hold special memories for the members of rock band the Ides of March.
It was in these halls – and in a Berwyn basement – that the group got its start, before going on to write hit songs like 1970s smash, “Vehicle.”
“There was something special about the Morton schools,” keyboard player Scott May recalled on a recent day at Morton. “This is where it began.”
The members of Ides of March assembled together at the school once again May 15 to present the first of what they hope will become a yearly scholarship to a Morton West student with an interest in the arts.
“We wanted to do something for the community,” explained bass player Bob Bergland. “There’s a flood of memories at this school [for us] and we want to continue that legacy.”
This year’s first scholarship of $1,000 went to senior Iridian Hernandez, 18, of Berwyn.
In a town where everyone knows everyone, it was not surprising when band members learned some of them had grown up near where Hernandez lives now.
“We’re basically paisans,” May laughed.
Hernandez was selected by teachers and staff at Morton West for the scholarship. Hernandez dabbles in many artistic mediums, including sculptor, painting, illustration and graphic design.
“I’ve been trying more graphic arts recently,” Hernandez said of her pursuits. “It relaxes me. I just try to think up an image and then draw it.”
Members of the band were impressed with an assortment of Hernandez’s graphic design work – T-shirts, posters and drawings – the school put on display for the scholarship meet and greet.
“Wow, this is great stuff. Very colorful,” Bergland said as he studied her work.
The group’s singer, Jim Peterik – well-known to many as co-writer of the “Rocky III” soundtrack hit “Eye of the Tiger” – was supportive of Hernandez’s wide ranging artistic interests.
“You have to try a lot to find what you like,” Peterik advised. “Stick with what you’re passionate about.”
Hernandez will attend Dominican University next year. She’ll stick with the arts, but also is interested in pursuing a science degree.