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Dupont using students’ talents

Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / April 6, 1998

RESERVE – Three students in the Visually Talented Arts Program at East St. John High School are getting a taste of what a real art job is likethrough the School-to-Career program.

Pay is even included.

In fact, teacher Jeannine Ward said the students are getting paid well for the 25-foot mural they are painting at DuPont’s PERO Building.

When the job is complete the three will split $750.

The board of the PERO Building decided to ask the art students at the high school to paint the mural because they were renovating the building.

“We usually have wedding receptions and showers here,” Clive Brown, board president, said. “We are in the process of renovating the buildingand the people who rent it out always want a background for their pictures so they usually put one up with staples in the wall. We wanted to preservethe walls.”But wall preservation isn’t the only reason Brown asked the students to paint the mural.

“We wanted to encourage the kids who are really talented,” she said. “Itwill allow them to do something for the community and maybe get other jobs from it. It’s a way we can get the kids to help us and we can helpthem.”Brown hopes other businesses will follow Dupont’s lead.

“We are looking for more opportunities to help the students, and we hope other companies look at what we are doing and say, ‘hey, this is a good idea.’ “Ward said the job is good for the students because it encourages them to stay in school and work toward an art career.

The students, 10th-graders Jennifer Addison and Michele Montz and 11th- grader Matt Roussel, prepared for the project in the way of sketches and choosing a medium.

“They chose the paint and they are even keeping track of the bookkeeping,” Ward said. “I’m just here to give them advice.”Students are glad to have the opportunity to paint the mural and are learning from the experience.

“It’s fun doing it right now,” Roussel said. “You do it to learn all kinds ofstuff about it.””It’s fun,” Addison said. “It’s not what I’m going to make my career, but Ilike it. It’s something to make some extra money. I’m more of a decoratingperson than a painting person.”Addison will get the opportunity to pursue that aspect of art this summer when she begins another project. She is redecorating East St. John Highmath teacher Barbara Chandler’s house.

As for the current job, the three students have been working on the mural for about a week now and work on it every afternoon for about three hours unless an activity in the PERO Building has already been planned.

“They are doing a good job,” Ward said proudly.

Photo: MICHELE MONTZ, a sophomore at East St. John, works on a mural atDupont’s PERO Building. Montz, along with two other classmates, ispainting the mural and getting paid for it. Their art teacher, JeannineWard, believes more programs like this are just what students need to stay in school.

Photo by Rebecca Burk.

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