Sculpting Experiences | Beaufort County Now | Honors College builds ECU Community School partnership through art, service | east carolina university, ECU, honors college, community school, partnership, february 19, 2021

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Sculpting Experiences

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Kristen Martin.

ECU Honors College student Nainika Nandigama helps second grader Jaleyah Stocks create an art project at the ECU Community School on Feb. 8. | Photos: Cliff Hollis

    Community is integral to East Carolina University Honors College students. This applies not only to their classmates but also to the larger Greenville community.

    After a successful book fundraiser in the fall, honors students wanted to build a partnership with the ECU Community School. Students from the Honors College Student Council and EC Scholars Roundtable met with Tracy Cole, the ECU Community School principal, to determine how they could best volunteer their time to meet the needs of the school.

ECU Honors College student Victoria Chan shows an example of turning a 2D line into a 3D object to second grade students at the ECU Community School on Feb. 8.
    "It was a rewarding experience for the EC Scholars to meet teachers from the school at their book donation days, during which we donated over 1,000 books," said Victoria Chan, a senior EC Scholar double majoring in public health and psychology.

    The students were excited to implement ideas such as art sessions. Chan, a self-taught artist, worked with fellow honors student Nainika Nandigama to create sessions that were age-appropriate and fun for the students. Their first sessions focused on different types of lines and how to create 2D and 3D lines. Kindergartners completed a "Crazy Hair Day" activity where they created colorful hair with different lines, while first grade students created 3D paper sculptures with strips of paper.

    "At the end of each session, some students would share their art with their classmates, excited and, more importantly, proud of themselves," Chan said. "Our goal as facilitators of these art sessions is to create a space where the students feel comfortable expressing themselves while learning the principles and elements of art and design."

    The Community School students enjoyed the art sessions, according to Cole. Through the session, they were attentive and focused — afterwards, they spoke about how much they enjoyed them and asked repeatedly when Chan and Nandigama would return.

    "Ms. Chan and Ms. Nandigama were excellent role models," Cole said. "They served as a clear reminder to our students that if they work hard now that they, too, can go to college and help others."

    Honors students supplied all of the art materials and made sure to keep their visits as safe and COVID-19 conscious as possible by wearing face masks, washing hands before and after the sessions, and providing individual kits for each student.

    Being able to provide an artistic outlet for young children is important to Chan. Her parents emphasized the importance of art and music throughout her childhood and it has inspired her personal, professional and academic growth over the years.

    "As an aspiring physician, I realize the value in recognizing art within medicine and have the goal of one day illustrating and publishing children's books on an array of physical and emotional health topics," she said. "Whether it's through the process of creating or the reflection and introspection that follows, I believe that art education at a young age empowers students by providing them with an environment in which they can develop self-identity and emotional intelligence."

    Nandigama agreed with Chan and emphasized art's importance.

    "It allows students to grasp concepts more easily if they are kinesthetic or visual learners. They can broaden their scope of thinking," Nandigama said.

    Honors College students will continue their partnership with the Community School throughout the semester. In March, they will help ready the garden for planting, and they are raising money through a virtual 5K to fill the school's pantry.

    "The Honors College partnership with the ECU Community School is a win for everyone involved," said Dr. Diane Majewski, Honors College director of programming and special projects. "Local elementary students have the benefit of learning from bright and motivated college students on a regular basis. We hope these Pirates remember that the honors experience is in reach."


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