One Pauls Valley teacher again got the opportunity this past school year to both challenge her students’ art skills and at the same time provide them with some meaningful lessons about life.
For the second straight year art teacher Nancy McGee and her junior high students took part in an international project that provides young orphans in other countries with their portraits.
Done through The Memory Project, the initiative allows art students here to use photos of the actual orphans and create a portrait drawing, which is later given to those same children.
This year's project in Pauls Valley involves photos of 20 kids living in Honduras.
“I tell my students they are global diplomats,” McGee said about the project done throughout the second semester of this past school year.
“These orphans have nothing, no keepsakes, no necklaces, much less having something that will show what they looked like when they were young,” she said. “This may be the only keepsake they have.
“It also shows these orphans that there's someone in America concerned enough to think of them and do this for them.”
Along with the lessons provided by a project involving children from another country, McGee said it also allows her students to take ownership in their work since they must decide how to do the drawings.
“They can do it in any medium,” she said. “I want it to be a very, very, very good likeness of the child.”
The project allows students to sharpen their art skills by using the photo as a model to draw a portrait of that child.
The drawings were then put on display at the junior high's spring art show a few weeks ago before being shipped off as a special gift to the actual children in the portraits.
As an added bonus McGee and the students are later provided with photos and videos of the orphans when they receive their drawings.
“The smiles on the faces of these kids, they're just beaming. It's a wonderful experience for them,” McGee said about the orphans.
Just like last year the junior high's student council again stepped up and provided the $300 necessary for the students here to participate in the project.