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Smithsburg Middle Art Students Create Portraits for Children in Expression of International Caring

Posted April 17, 2019

HAGERSTOWN, MD (April 17, 2019) – Art students of Stacy Maginnis at Smithsburg Middle School have displayed long distance international goodwill by creating portraits for Rohingya children who fled with their families from violence in Myanmar and are sheltering in a large refugee settlement in Bangladesh and for children in war-torn Syria. The Smithsburg Middle students and thousands of students across the country received photographs of children and used them to create portraits that were sent overseas in an effort coordinated by the Memory Project, a charitable non-profit organization that invites art teachers, students and solo artists to create portraits for children around the world. These children face substantial challenges that include violence, war, extreme poverty, neglect and loss of parents. They have rarely seen photos of themselves and the portraits are gifts they could never have imagined.

Ms. Maginnis guided her students to create paintings, drawings and other heartfelt portraits of the children. Memory Project officials say that the gifts serve as meaningful pieces of personal history for the children, but they also communicate kindness, peace and friendship on behalf of the students who create them.

Seventh grade art student Karel Fouedjou “felt grateful to have the chance to participate even though on the journey there were challenges.” Each student experimented with different art supplies to create an original work of art. Lidia Amaya, another seventh grader, said “she was going through some personal things so it made her hopeful to be doing something for someone else.” Participating sixth grade students were Mia Gonzalez Reyes, Taylor King and Daimeyn Smith. From seventh grade, Eleni Beaton, Laci Pryor, Shayma Baou, Triniti Carraway, Nicole Calp and Zachary Gonzales also participated. The participating eighth grade students were Eliana Gil, Kaden Geissinger, Najla Hall, Angelina Reece, Shiri Nchoto and Abigayle Clark.