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HPHS Ranked 10th Best IL High School

VIDEO: 'Wall Street 2' Writer Joins Many Others at Focus on the Arts

The celebration concludes Thursday after nearly a week of workshops, performances and stars.

Musicians, artists and performers have been shuffling in and out of (HPHS) this week for the 23rd biennial .

Since Tuesday, high school students have had the opportunity to see Cookie Monster's David Rudman, NBC News correspondent Kevin Tibbles, the talent behind Highland Park's and many others.

Wednesday's highlights included hip-hop artist Kidd Russell, a Deerfield native who rapped his hits and discussed how he broke into the music industry.

"I never really believed I could do it," Russell told the packed classroom of students and parents. "A white kid from Deerfield, Illinois--where am I going to fit into the business?"

The nearly weeklong celebration of the arts kicked off last Friday with the first ever Movie Night, a film event organized by students Jack Shulruff and . In addition to presenting student films, the event included speeches by celebrity guests such as screenwriter and HPHS alum Allan Loeb. Director Shawn Levy and actor Hugh Jackman also appeared via a video they had sent earlier.

"The last time I was on this stage was Guys and Dolls, " said Loeb, who wrote the sequel to Wall Street in addition to The Dilemma  and The Switch.

"They kept pushing me back till I was basically off the stage. That's when I realized that I was probably better behind the camera," he said jokingly.

Loeb discussed how filmmakers like Robert Redford and John Hughes, who chose Highland Park as the location to shoot some of their movies, inspired him at a young age.

"John Hughes chose Highland Park basically to be his Americana," Loeb said, citing 1985's The Breakfast Club. "When he wanted to show suburbia and America to the rest of the world, it was Highland Park, Illinois.

"It shaped me and made me want to be in film," he added.

Levy, who directed the A Night at the Museum films and Date Night, sent his video presentation from Los Angeles, where he is filming Real Steel with the Wolverine star Jackman.

"If you're there, you're there because you love movies," Levy told the audience. "In that regard, we have a lot in common."

Soon Levy was interrupted by Jackman, who pretended to be flustered with the director for abandoning him in the sound booth.

"Totally kidding," Jackman told the camera after Levy disappeared. "When you all become great filmmakers, remember me."

Focus on the Arts concludes Thursday with a final day of workshops and performances. For more information, click here.

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