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Soroco Middle School students experience world cultures through art, lessons

Toni Schupner draws a fish pattern for a Chinese lantern craft during the Final World Arts and Culture Club meeting at Soroco Middle School on Wednesday. Christie Scott, an AmeriCorps volunteer, started the after-school club in October to expose students to world cultures through music, art and field trips.
Brian Ray

— Teaching children about the world through art projects and crafts has always been a passion of Christie Scott’s.

Scott, an AmeriCorps volunteer working in Oak Creek’s Soroco Middle School, has spent every Wednesday afternoon from 3:15 to 5 p.m. since October engaging a group of students in the world around them by being exposed to worldly music, art projects and field trips.

Although the spring sports season has robbed the World Arts and Culture Club of many of its participants, seventh-grader Toni Schupner attended the final club meeting Wednesday to learn about the Chinese New Year and to make Chinese paper lanterns.



Schupner’s lantern, which was shaped like a fish, was the last of many projects she completed in recognition of other cultures.

“Making art was my favorite thing,” she said. “I also liked going on the field trips.”



Since October, the students have made art relating to cultures in India, Nepal, Mexico, Iceland, Russia, Italy, Samoa, China, Japan and Moldova. The projects ranged from making paper fans and lanterns to experiencing communal bathing traditions at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

“My objective was to bring the world and world cultures and art to these kids in a fun, relatable way,” Scott said. “They take things away from their classes, but I wanted them to have an opportunity to use their senses to create art and learn.”

Scott was placed to work with Soroco Middle School students as an AmeriCorps volunteer through Partners in Routt County, a nonprofit organization designed to pair adult residents with students for the purpose of mentoring and building meaningful relationships.

AmeriCorps volunteers are required to run an after-school program as part of their commitment to the school.

“It’s been proven that kids are most likely to get in trouble or participate in delinquent behaviors in the hours after they get out of school,” Scott said. “This club gave them an another option if they weren’t involved in sports or weren’t doing other things.”

As a studio art major, Scott said it was not difficult for her to design the club.

“I like that the students were able to study the origins of the things they see in their everyday lives,” she said. “Art has a more meaningful and historic significance than just paying $20 for a Chinese lantern at IKEA because it looks nice.”

Schupner said she has always been drawn to art and hopes someone continues the club next year.

“I learned more about art than I knew,” she said. “I’d be involved again.”

Scott said Schupner’s artistic endeavors often inspired other students to release their creativity.

“She’s a great artist,” Scott said. “She has really pulled the artist out in the other kids.”

Scott’s tenure as the culture club leader will now take her to leading the chess club, which meets from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

“I’ll miss my girls from the art club, but it’ll be good for me to hang out with those guys, too,” she said.


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