Tag Archives: Walter Reed School

Queens students fight against animal abuse and endangerment through art


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Anthony Giudice

Middle school students from across the city are getting the chance to have their artwork put on display in city parks thanks to Learning through an Expanded Arts Program’s (LeAp) public art program.

Students from P.S. 9 Walter Reed School in Queens participated in the public art program where they expressed their thoughts on the issues of animal abuse and animal endangerment through the power of art.

The project, titled “A View from the Lunchroom Students Bringing Issues to the Table,” tasked students with painting a lunchroom table to help raise awareness for their topic of choice.

“A lot of animals are being killed for their tusks or to make food,” said Demitirius Morris, student of P.S. 9 at I.S. 5. “It was fun making the table. We want to tell people to be nice to animals and protect the Earth. It is most important to me because I have a dog.”

Their table is now on display at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village and will remain there through August.

“We are proud to put our table in Juniper Valley Park in Queens, New York,” said Vincent Suraty, a student at Walter Reed School.

The public art program allows public school students to have a voice in their communities and speak out on the social issues that matter to them. The children work with a LeAp teaching artist to explore the critical issues in their communities, study the history of the issues raised and learn how to express themselves through art.

“The idea is to target this age group to show them that adults respect what they have to say,” said Alexandra Leff, director of LeAp’s public art program. “We give them this public forum to express themselves and empower them to have a voice through artwork.”

The students learned from the LeAp teaching artist how to use art as a form of expression, and how their message can reach many people.

“We teach the students about symbolism in art, how to use color and to visually express their message,” said Christy Powers, LeAp teaching artist. “We teach them how important that is, especially in Queens, with such a diverse population and people speaking different languages. Art has a way to emotionally impact you.”

Walter Reed School was just one of 10 schools from all five boroughs to have their artwork displayed in city parks. This art program is the largest student art exhibition in the history of New York City parks, and the first to span the five boroughs.


RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens students create art to tackle issues of abuse and teen pregnancy


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of LeAp

Middle school students from Queens are taking a trip down New York City’s art circuit.

Walter Reed School in Maspeth and Robert E. Peary School in Glendale teamed up with a nonprofit art program to help students create an art exhibit that turns cafeteria benches into canvases with pictures of butterflies, the grim reaper and the words, “Be yourself. Stay above the influence” on them.

Students at Walter Reed presented their picture collage to an audience in Union Square on May 20 and on June 10 they will hold an exhibition at Juniper Park Valley. Students from Robert E. Peary School in Glendale will unveil their exhibit at the Evergreen Park on the same day.

The exhibits are meant to help students address problems in their communities that are important to them. These issues include substance abuse, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school and each table features pictures created by students from both schools.

“The students are the ones that brought these issues up,” said Jenny Castillo, an art teacher at the Walter Reed school. “These are issues they deal with on a daily basis.” The school worked with LeAp, a nonprofit organization that holds programs to educate students through art in New York City, to help the students create the art.

The art exhibits are part of LeAp’s larger citywide project to empower students in 10 schools on topics and issues that students come up with, according to LeAp’s Art Program Director Alexandra Leff.

“The idea is that students talk about these things around lunch time,” Leff said, explaining why cafeteria benches were chosen as the canvas. “It’s their moment to have a voice and talk about what’s important to them in a larger public space.”

“They live in neighborhoods where they’re around these problems all the time,” Castillo said.

The cafeteria benches will be on display for the whole summer and afterwards they will go on display in each school.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth school employee charged for having sex with 14-year-old student


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size1

An employee at a Maspeth school for special education children has been charged for engaging in sexual acts with a 14-year-old student, according to officials.

The accused woman, 39-year-old Clara Somodi, was arrested about 1 a.m. Thursday and charged with rape, a criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child, police said. The sexual acts didn’t occur on school grounds, according to cops.

Somodi has been a paraprofessional at the Walter Reed School, which serves special education students in K-8, for 10 years, a Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson said. She was immediately suspended without pay.

The student is being provided with counseling, according to the DOE spokesperson.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES