The Tracy-Pingree Partnership
Each year, students from Pingree School in South Hamilton give up some of their March school vacation time to work with children at the Tracy School in Lynn. The community building activities are literacy, art and social studies focused but they are mostly experiential and fun!
Special thanks goes to Pingree School Trustee and artist, Therese Melden, for her leadership, support and vision in this community collaboration.
Months before the actual work with the children, Pingree School students and staff meet with the artist in residence to create the plans, collect the materials and supplies and recruit the team. This year's artist was Katherine Gasper who provided leadership for some fun weaving!
Here is Katherine's response!
Several months ago when I was asked by my amazing friend, Jan Plourde, to participate in the Tracy-Pingree partnership, I was excited at the prospect of working with high school and elementary students in a creative, hands on way. The two weeks in March proved to be not only enjoyable, but also reassuring that creativity is alive and well in our youth!
As a former teacher myself, I was amazed and delighted to observe the deep level of engagement the elementary students of Tracy exhibited as they explored materials, interacted with each other and the high school students, and created individual works of art. As an artist and weaver, I marveled at the attention to detail the young students showed in learning the techniques of weaving on a loom and the Japanese braiding method of Kumihimo. Tracy students made choices about color, design, and purpose for their creations with enthusiasm and excitement. It was wonderful to feel the energy they brought to these tasks, and to see the creativity and color they brought to their finished pieces of artwork.
All of this was enhanced by the enthusiasm and eagerness of the Pingree students as they interacted with their teams of young artists. It was an absolute delight to see many of the high school students working on their own Kumihimo and loom projects as they instructed, modeled, and assisted Tracy students. Pingree students facilitated learning in a fun and relaxed way with the elementary students. The whole experience seemed to provide both, Pingree and Tracy students, with opportunities to engage socially and creatively.
Working with our hands to create products that are meaningful feels good—no matter what age we are! I often heard other adults commenting on the peacefulness of the activities, and the Òtheraputic', relaxing atmosphere as they passed by our groups. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share in such an inspiring, relevant, creative endeavor with Tracy-Pingree schools. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful partnership, and always remember to be creative in your life every chance you get! Our creative pursuits add vibrancy to the world we all share!
Thank you! -Katherine Gasper