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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Viola students Paint the Sidewalk Pink for a good cause

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Viola High School Art Club members painted the sidewalk around the school with inspirational messages in support of breast cancer survivors and victims to support Breasts Cancer Awareness Month, which was October.
When parents arrived at Viola High School on Thursday, Oct. 25, for parent-teacher conferences, they were offered a stick of chalk and asked to help "Paint the Sidewalk Pink."

That was the name of a day long project undertaken by the Viola High School Art Club.

"I was trying to think of a project for the club," art teacher Sharmin Jennings explained. "I decided we could do something to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I lost an aunt, Peggy Newton, to breast cancer, and have had many friends in their early 30s who have faced it. As far as students, they have probably all known someone with breast cancer or been directly affected by it."

Beginning on the morning of Oct. 25, groups of students started working in front of the high school's main entrance painting the sidewalk with pink washable paint, made by Jennings (cornstarch, water and powdered Tempra paint), and using chalk to write messages or craft drawings honoring breast cancer victims and survivors, and encouraging women to monitor themselves for signs of breast cancer.

As the afternoon parent-teacher conferences approached, a table was set up to get parents involved.

"We asked parents to help us by writing messages of hope on the sidewalk," Jennings said.

One of the student artists was Ari Stewart, who considered the undertaking much more than an art project.

"My mother died of breast cancer when I was nine (years old)," Stewart said. "Most women in my family have faced breast cancer. So, a big group of us always walk and support Relay for Life."

Dayna Sutton, another art club member, declared the project, "a great idea," to remind women to be on guard against breast cancer.

Alvin Baltzell, a drama club member with a cast on his hand, really got enthused. Before doing his sidewalk art, Baltzell had his cast painted pink.

"I think Breast Cancer Awareness Month spreads an important message," Baltzell said. "With my pink cast, I'm spreading the word where ever I go."

While students were dismissed at noon for parent-teacher conference day, many stayed on to continue the artwork, and ask parents to join them.

Jennings was pleased with the student enthusiasm, and plans to do the project again next year.

"The students have been very supportive, and we've discussed seeing if maybe we could schedule the mobile mammography vehicle to come next year to give mammograms."

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