Paying it up with paintings

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Photo by Makeez Manely

War Veterans pose for a picture with student and staff Warriors.

Makeez Manely, Front Page Editor & Ad Manager

Memorial Day did not just pass by in the visual arts department. This year, the department continued one of its most valued traditions by commemorating veterans in a ceremony that took place on June 3rd.

Throughout the month of May, art and ceramics students created pieces to pay tribute to the soldiers. Those pieces were then displayed to Vietnam veterans who selected artwork that best captures their feelings. Artists whose pieces were selected were given first through fifth place awards or an honorable mention at the ceremony that took place during tutorial in the teachers’ lounge.

I really don’t want to make it about money; honestly, I think the kids are focusing on the project and the money is just extra”

— Matthew Takeno, art teacher

From the beginning of the ceremony when chorus sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” one could feel how meaningful the moment really was. Once that was done, the veterans gave a short speech and then presented awards and scholarships ranging from $25-$400 for the winning artists. However, art teacher Matthew Takeno noted that the event did not emphasize the profits.

“I really don’t want to make it about money; honestly, I think the kids are focusing on the project and the money is just extra,” Takeno said. “It’s really great to be recognized, and if you do win they put your work permanently in one of the veterans’ hospitals.”

One lucky warrior, junior Connor Gibbs, will have that honor. Connor received the first place award for his one-of-a-kind piece.

“I came up with the idea of making a uniform by talking to my grandpa, who also served in Vietnam, and so I wanted to show the before and after of a solider to show despite what happened during the war they still came out a hero,” Gibbs said.

“With my artwork I am trying to say thank you, but in a deeper way than just saying ‘thank you,’” said freshman Aleksandra Dziewulska.

A thank you to people like Greg Gillaspy, a veteran of the Vietnam War, Gillaspy served two tours, nine and a half months each. Last year, he was so moved by the event that he signed up to be a member and sponsored the event this year.