BOLINGBROOK – Bolingbrook High School celebrated “a new standard of excellence” for the community and students when the much-anticipated acoustic sound shell was unveiled in the BHS auditorium last week.
“With your support, the ‘outlandish’ dream we had for our students has become a reality,” said BHS Music Boosters President Diane Parro, who led the six-month drive to raise $120,000 to purchase and install the shell. “Our students are going places. These students deserve the best, and thanks to the generous donations by those of you in our audience, and the support of our school board, senior leadership and administration, we are able to give them the best.”
A year ago, the large wooden structure, which will significantly improve the sound experience in the auditorium for both the audience and the performers, was merely a dream in the minds of BHS Director of Bands Aimee Rupsis and her husband, Carl, who serves as auditorium manager.
“When I found out the price, I thought that was a lot of money. I knew other schools have raised this kind of money before and I believed we could do it, too. I just thought it might take a while,” she said. “Well not our school and not our community. We did it in less than one year."
Parro and Rupsis headed up a committee consisting of community members, parents, alumni, and VVSD staff and administrators.
“Thankfully, they believed this project could be accomplished,” VVSD Board of Education President Steve Quigley said. “It is a testament to the efforts of Diane Parro and Aimee Rupsis as well as the community.”
As part of the unveiling on June 4, the BHS Wind Symphony performed “A Copeland Portrait” and the Sunrise Singers performed “Ave Verum.”
Then, both groups combined to present the debut of the Bolingbrook High School Alma Mater, which was composed by BHS Director of Choirs Lawrence Fisher and written by BHS Class of 2011 graduate Kevin Nepomuceno. BHS Class of 2013 graduate Shane Cook assisted with orchestrations.
“An Alma Mater differs from a fight song in that it is generally a slower tempo and uses a text that speaks fondly about the school and affirms devotion towards the school,” Fisher said. “I hope this Alma Mater becomes a new Bolingbrook High School tradition and something that will speak to generations to come.”
Included in the ceremonies was the unveiling of a new patron board in the auditorium lobby indicating the donors who played a significant role in the fundraising efforts.
BHS auditorium to become 'Roger and Pat Claar Family Auditorium'
Amidst the celebration of the arrival of the new acoustic sound shell at Bolingbrook High School, Valley View School District 365U Board of Education President Steve Quigley announced his fellow board members have decided to name the BHS auditorium “The Roger and Pat Claar Family Auditorium.”
“Mayor Claar and his family have been big supporters of many different improvements and programs at BHS over the years,” Quigley said. “Annually he awards $20,000 in college scholarships to Bolingbrook seniors, $16,000 of which goes to BHS students.”
“The high school is the focal point for the youth in a community,” said Claar, who was one of the leaders in the effort to build a new high school in Bolingbrook a decade ago. “This is a beautiful facility. It is a world class institution in academics and athletics. Now we have a world class auditorium. This is truly an honor for my family.”
Claar is a former Director of Career Education for Valley View School District 365U.
Claar’s wife, Pat, is a retired Bolingbrook High School Assistant Principal. Their daughter, Lindsey, is a 2000 graduate of BHS. Both Pat and Lindsey were instrumental in the founding of Heart Haven Outreach, an organization that continues to serve the youths of Bolingbrook, including many BHS students.
Pat is currently the organization’s pro bono director.