The best lesson

Ken Grabowski/News Advocate CASMAN students show off their enthusiasm to Vogue Theatre director Travis Alden before presenting him with a check.

Ken Grabowski/News Advocate
CASMAN students show off their enthusiasm to Vogue Theatre director Travis Alden before presenting him with a check.

CASMAN Academy students make donation to Vogue Theatre

MANISTEE — The students at CASMAN Academy will not be tested on the lesson they learned Friday, but it was one that will most likely last a lifetime.

The lesson was one of community service and of giving of yourself to help others. Students did that by making a cash donation to the Vogue Theatre with funds they had collected throughout the year. CASMAN director Shelly VanVoorst said Friday morning’s viewing of “Godzilla” was icing on the cake for the students.

“This is awesome, as the kids have been saving all year,” she said. “We have different collection sites throughout the school for cans and bottles. Between that and the money that was left over from the blood drive, we were able to do this today.  They had enough money to pay for every single seat whether we filled it or not in the small theatre and make a donation of $100 on top of it.”

VanVoorst said the staff was even more moved when they heard some of the stories from the students. Some made more sense when consideration was given to the fact that most of the students watching the Godzilla movie grew up during a time when there was no movie theatre.

6-7CASMANdonpic3“When we asked how many had been in the theatre, more than half of them said they hadn’t,” she said. “We even had kids who had never been to a movie theater ever before today and that gave us chills. But what was even more moving was when we arrived there was a welcome to us on the marquee sign.”

Vogue Theatre manager Travis Alden said it is donations of this kind that really bring home the true meaning of how the theater has become part of the entire community.

“To me, what is more important is the donation comes from the student body of CASMAN who could have chosen anything they wanted to, but they chose the Vogue,” he said. “That says we are doing something here that speaks to them.”

Alden said the need to draw that age demographic into the Vogue Theatre is high on their list of why they were doing it.

“It is evident that the youth are coming to the movies here,” he said. “The more connected that demographic is to Manistee in general the better.”

Alden said it is important to reach this group.

“One of the big reasons we wanted to resurrect the Vogue Theatre is we wanted to bring movies back to Manistee and especially for kids this age,” he said. “I feel it is better to see movies on the big screen and not on a little iPhone or something like that. The fact that there are kids in there watching a movie like this is something they are always going to remember.

Meg Voelker of the volunteer committee said she feels it is important to reach out to the youth of Manistee with quality movies.

“This is just something we want to continue doing for our community in offering the Vogue Theatre to the schools and many of them for the first time being in the Vogue or ever being to a movie,” she said. “Every single donation helps, but even more than that we enjoy seeing the kids as they come in smiling and leave smiling even bigger.”

Ken Grabowski/News Advocate Students from CASMAN Academy made a donation to the Vogue Theatre on Friday with funds they had collected this year from bottle and blood drives. The students also watched the movie "Godzilla." Shown presenting Vogue director Travis Alden (far right) and volunteer coordinator Meg Voelker (far left) are CASMAN director Shelly VanVoorst, students Christie Reiffers, Alyssa Lake, Alexa Koon and Chris Atkinson.

Ken Grabowski/News Advocate
Students from CASMAN Academy made a donation to the Vogue Theatre on Friday with funds they had collected this year from bottle and blood drives. The students also watched the movie “Godzilla.” Shown presenting Vogue director Travis Alden (far right) and volunteer coordinator Meg Voelker (far left) are CASMAN director Shelly VanVoorst, students Christie Reiffers, Alyssa Lake, Alexa Koon and Chris Atkinson.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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