Project brings community together

While there is no in-person instruction taking place at the public schools in Montezuma Creek, students at Whitehorse High School are still learning through a multi-subject curriculum.

One project, featuring an art component on the fences outside Whitehorse High, has drawn the attention of the community and those passing through the area.

The Hero project was a seven week unit that allowed students to learn about heroes across multiple disciplines.

Music teacher Tim Harrison explains the collaboratively-built unit included music, health, history, art, Navajo studies, and college and career awareness components.

Harrison explains the central theme of “Heroes” was explored through six weeks. On week one, the students focused on courage and wrote an essay about a historical hero.

First-year history teacher Jesse Grover says the essays were about a wide variety of historical heroes. Some essays featured Diné Chief Manulito, Navajo Code Talker Peter MacDonald, and Martin Luther King.

Grover said he is impressed how students were able to link their essays about the past to current social issues.

In the second week, students made vision boards related to future career and college plans.

The third week was a look at compassion. Students interviewed family members and integrated music into their reports.

Students then used colored cups to create pixel art that represented heroes on the chain link fence surrounding the school.

In the final week of the project, students sent letters to heroes asking for responses.

The art project on the fence surrounding the school was something staff had envisioned for a while. Art Teacher Georgianna Simpson says the project was part of learning selflessness by serving the community.

The art project was socially distanced from other groups and during different times.

Simpson said the project engaged families at all age levels. She enjoyed seeing little kids alongside grandmothers helping insert the cups into the fence.

The school has used more than 44,000 cups thus far and plans to reuse them as part of a rotating biannual art installation.

Carolene Johnson’s son Ethan is a seventh grade student at Whitehorse High. Johnson says the project has been appreciated by all involved.

“With all the change of not attending school on a regular basis, this activity brought many smiles to the scholars and to their families,” she said.

Staff and residents in the area report that visitors and locals alike can be seen driving slowly past the installation as they appreciate the work of the students.

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