New Chalkboard Project Team expands message

by Alex Reed, News

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Last year, photographs lined the hallways of Spring Lake High School. Each picture showed a student holding a chalkboard with a negative word or phrase that they have been called.

Afterwards, other students would cover the photograph with a piece of paper and write a positive word that described the person. This was the Chalkboard Project, an art installation that had a widespread impact and quickly became popular, even catching the attention of local media outlets.

This year, many high school students wanted to make even more of an impact. On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, art instructor Mrs. Jennifer Gwinnup decided to form a new group at Spring Lake High School called the Chalkboard Project Team.

The group is made up of more than 50 hard-working, passionate students who are working to create a positive, empathetic environment in their community.

The group uses a two-year cycle. The first year is focused on the Chalkboard Project at Spring Lake High School. Now it is the second year of the cycle, which is focused around expanding the impact of the Chalkboard Project to other areas.

Currently, the group is working to help other schools participate in the Chalkboard Project and make an impact using the art installation. Mrs. Gwinnup said that the Chalkboard Project Team’s goal is to tell people’s stories through art by allowing them to be, “vulnerable and authentic” and to share a meaningful message.

This creates a powerful connection within the community as people are able to form a bond over recognizing, as Gwinnup stated, “the ubiquitous human experience of negativity,” while also attempting to reduce negative experiences and increase positive ones.

This new group shows that fostering a kind, empathetic environment is not limited to just one community. The Chalkboard Project Team is dedicating time to helping other communities bond and grow.

These students are using their knowledge, not only to help themselves, but also to help others, just as students who participated in the Chalkboard Project last year used their knowledge of other participants to replace negative, hurtful words with compliments.

By reaching out to communities beyond their own and using their knowledge in a helpful way, the group is perfectly reflecting the Chalkboard Project’s message.

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