Elizabeth Abowd-Rockwell of Farmington Hills began volunteering with the Marian Rice Players in 1998 when her oldest daughter was a freshman member of the school play’s art crew. For the past 18 years, Elizabeth has helped – always behind the scenes – either as costume coordinator for the Players’ twice yearly productions or as chair of the all-important food committee. In this position, Elizabeth coordinates parent volunteers, as well as menus, meals, and snacks for hundreds of hungry teenagers who perform and work backstage during the final week of rehearsals and performances.
The head of his own construction business, Les Adams of Commerce Township is experienced in general contracting, remodeling, site development/excavation, and concrete work – and he has transferred many of these skills to dozens of students who have worked stage crew for the Marian Rice Players. A volunteer with the group since 2000, Les strives to make set building fun while he educates students in the correct and safe way to build sets, teaching skills that can be used for a lifetime. Versatile Les also fills in on drums in the pit for MRP musicals.
Diane Lueck volunteered on the Marian Rice Players’ costume committee for eight years, beginning when her daughter was a freshman actor. She is a positive role model for cast and crew, concerned that students get a good experience in learning about theatre and create positive relationships. As wardrobe supervisor, Diane made sure the extensive costume closet was organized, worked with other theatre groups, and oversaw parent volunteers and student costumers in selecting, securing, repairing, altering, and hemming costume changes for actors and chorus members.
Teresa and Russ Pogats have volunteered as art director and set construction assistants for a combined total of 14 Marian Rice Players’ productions. These parents have helped student crew members discover their talents, while building leadership skills. Teresa mentors students in their art designs, encouraging creativity in color schemes, paints, stains, and other finishes and teaching ways to create sets with texture to bring them to life. Russ teaches crew members safety on the fly system and when constructing props and sets, using wood, styrofoam, metal, and aluminum.
These five Marian volunteers were among the nearly 100 Distinguished Volunteers honored at Cobo Center by local nonprofit organizations. Each year, National Philanthropy Day is observed by more than 200 AFP chapters across the country to recognize the contributions of philanthropy and volunteerism in each area. The Detroit-area event was presented by Crain’s Detroit Business.
Located in Bloomfield Hills, Marian is a Catholic college preparatory school for young women, sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The mission of Marian High School is to ensure, within a Christian environment, an excellent education built on a strong academic curriculum, which will enable young women to value human diversity and live responsible lives of leadership and action based on gospel values.