Special Education students join art students to create mandala designs


Photo by Ashley Park

Digital Media student and freshman Christy Beutel colors a mandala in the combined class which allowed students to interact and collaborate with each other.

Laughter was the most noticeable sound emanating from the portable. Inside the colorfully- decorated room, students from Digital Media and Special Education eagerly worked together on an art project on March 9.

Although this was the first time that Digital Media spent class time with Special Education students, the atmosphere inside the room was relaxed and light. The combined class, although shy at first, seemed comfortable with one another as the period went by. They worked on coloring and drawing activities while getting to know each other.

Encouraging posters, quotes and drawings all over the room sparked creativity in the students as they participated with their teachers to create the finished art project.

Freshman Peyton Toal worked on her art project next to her classmates as she completed her activity.

“I think it’s nice…we get to connect with them,” Toal said.

Sharing materials for their project also served as an icebreaker while teachers encouraged conversations amongst the students, ranging from after school activities to spring break plans.  

According to art teacher Lisa Cermak, it was her first time working with Special Education.

“I know that in the past, Mrs. Rogers has done projects with them,” Cermak said. “It is definitely something I would do again.”

Recommended by visual arts teacher Jillian Rogers, Cermak and Special Education teacher David Ferrell introduced a mandala project to the students. Students drew and colored the mandalas, or geometric shapes. The intricate designs, consisting of various shapes and patterns, compelled students to focus on coloring and drawing.

“My students loved the activity,” Ferrell said. “They like feeling part of the whole school environment…and we are always trying to look for new ways to combine classes.”

Coloring is an excellent way to relieve stress, according to huffingtonpost.com, and for Digital Media and special need students, it promoted the creation of a new friendship.