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High School and Elementary Students Bond at Art Camp

Fifth-grader Camille Hodge blended red and yellow paint, preparing to stencil an orange pattern onto a white T-shirt. She worked alongside Kelloggsville High School junior Bree Boylan, who created her own print while chatting with Camille throughout the Creative Kids Camp session at Kelloggsville High School.

Around them, students applied colorful stars, moons, suns, butterflies and smiley faces with stencils onto shirts during the printmaking class. Led by art teacher Donna Casmere for 20 years, the monthly evening camp pairs elementary students with older peers as a community art opportunity.

“I’ve really liked art for a long time. It’s fun to draw and paint with leaders,” Camille said.

As many as 50 high school and elementary students from Kelloggsville and surrounding districts attend to learn a different medium each week, often tied to a lesson on art history and culture.

Art in elementary school is often a once-a-week special. For Casmere, the camp is a way to expose students to more art before the secondary level.  Fifth-grade student Kate Van Dyke makes a butterfly print

Peer-to-Peer Connections

It’s also good for elementary students to get to know high school students, creating a comfortable atmosphere between the age groups, Casmere said.

Bree attends frequently to work with elementary artists, and said she enjoys helping them with their pieces. “Sharing artwork helps me feel good inside,” she said. “It gives me time to do extra art and help the community.”

Casmere said high school students help plan and coordinate projects plus mentor and interact. Projects include have included making masks, Christmas crafts and pottery.

Parents help organize the program, passing out T-shirts at the printmaking class.

Students pay $50 for the several-month camp, or attend for free if they qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Proceeds help fund the high school’s semi-annual European trip for students. A group of students, staff and parents are planning to travel to Ireland and Wales for 10 days in 2015.


Kelloggsville Public Schools

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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