by Dave Warner

Voters going to the polls had a surprise waiting for them as the school had wall after wall of art displayed, students giving demonstrations, one showing the book that she had written and illustrated and the Middle School Music Department’s Spring Concert.

High School student writes and illustrates her own book

Jaimie Wiegand wrote and illustrated a book called “Autumn’s Egg Hunt” as part of a series of books and she was working on getting publicity for the book so that she could get it published.

Wiegand loves making graphic designs and cartoons on the computer and has been doing so for over a decade. She has taken classes in graphic design, drawing and painting, and photography.

She said “This book is about my two-year-old niece Autumn. She likes to collect eggs and she needs a couple of new friends to help her on the journey.”

Wiegand went on to say that she made the illustrations on Adobe Illustrator. “I learned how to use Illustrator last year in 11th grade,” she said.

She felt that coming up with the words was the toughest part of the project. Once that happened, it was easier for her to illustrate it. In one of the illustrations, she described what she drew “It shows Autumn falling into the mud puddle and she’s sad,” said Wiegand.

“After Autumn collected all the eggs, her friends wanted to take a selfie with her eggs and they posted it to social media,” she said. The drawing on the final page of the book depicts that selfie.

She is also a photographer and had a display of some of her work behind the table where she was set up.

One of her teachers was Kara Milianta and she said “Jaimie had a lot of great ideas and we wanted her to be able to have a series of books and we’re hoping that she can get this published. That’s her goal.”

Milianta went on to say that there are a series of #hashtags associated with the book. “It can be interactive. If the book gets published and people start to buy it, and they use Instagram, you’ll be able to see all the things associated with the book. It becomes a trend and people can start following that and people can see how other people interpreted that #hashtag. That was all Jaimie’s idea, all on her own.”

A collaborative project between all three schools

Mrs. Bonville’s 2nd-grade class created their own imaginary monsters in Mrs. Rockwell’s art room. Then, those drawings were sent to Mrs. Wander’s 8th-grade classes, where they were made into three-dimensional figures. The final step was that Mrs. Milianta’s high school students then analyzed the artwork from the 2nd-graders and created a computer art version of the monsters, some of which were animated.

Mrs. Wander said “The second graders were asked to make a monster of their choice. They could add as many eyes, noses, ears, mouths, and everything and they came up with their own imaginative creatures. They ended up coloring them and sending them up to the Middle School and my 8th-grade studio and art class created a three-dimensional version of these drawings.”

The students could use whatever materials they wanted, the only requirement was that they be three-dimensional. “They drew them out first, each view, front, side and back and then it was totally up to them what medium they wanted to use,” said Wander.

“Some of them used clay, some of them used fabric, some of them used Sculpey, a type of clay, so it was pretty much their choice,” she said.

Wander had wanted her class to think outside of the box and to be creative and to challenge themselves. “Hopefully, they surprised themselves as to what they can do,” she stated. “A lot of children aren’t comfortable creating 3-d pieces, they’re comfortable drawing on paper doing things two-dimensionally.”

Kara Milianta thought it was a great idea for her class to get involved as well. “You’re getting into the mind of someone else, so when you see this child’s drawing and how abstract it is, it’s fun for somebody that has more refined skills to go into Illustrator to begin to draw it and then frame by frame make it fly.”

“The kids knew up front that they would be able to make some child’s dreams come true. How often is it that a 2nd-grader gets to see the monster that they drew flying and come to life,” said Milianta.

There is going to be a reception next month that will allow the 8th-graders to gift back to the 2nd-graders the sculptures that they have created. Wander said, “I think that would be really special for them.”

All three of the art teachers in the system have talked it over and are looking forward to more collaborative projects like this. Wander said “I just think that they’ll feel so special because they’re just little kids. It all came from just their one drawing.”

Milianta said “It also gives you a sense of community and it’s also a way of giving back. When the 2nd-graders drew these, the 8th-graders knew that they were going to be making a project and not keeping it. They were making it for someone else and that sense of community that’s built within that…the pride, care and craftsmanship that went into these projects were different than if they were just doing it for us.”

Benton Hall Academy Engineering by Design

About 50 students showed up with Tracy Young from Benton Hall Academy to demonstrate and do presentations on projects that they’ve been working on in their Engineering by Design classes.

“I also brought the BHA Broadcasters and they’re just talking to the parents and the voters and people that are here about things they’ve been working on. Some of the students are presenting their Grand Challenges and some are just showing projects that they are working on and others are creating some of the challenges that we have done,” she said.

“I also have four groups of fifth-graders presenting their pet washes, and that’s their Grand Challenge,” said Young.

Middle School Music Department Spring Concert

The evening concluded with the Spring Concert performed by the Little Falls Middle School Music Department. Stacie Luczynski, Amanda Grimaldi, Emily Rozonkiewiecz, and Amy Osborne organized the event to the delight of the almost packed house.

The 6th-grade treble choir, the 6th-grade band, the 7th, and 8th-grade mixed choir and the and 8th-grade band all performed.

Upcoming performances will be:

5/27/2019 – Memorial Day Ceremony
5/29/2019 – Elementary Band Concert
6/5/2019 – High School Spring Concert
6/6/2019 – AYV Concert
6/11/2019 – 5th-Grade Talent Show
6/14/2019 – Flag Day Ceremony
6/24/2019 – 5th-Grade Moving Up Ceremony
6/29/2019 – High School Commencement