Artist Elayna Fontanez.

No ‘summer slide’ for these local students

For the eighth year, the artistic talents of more than 100 students was put on display at the Linden Street School, decorated for all to see July 31. The annual event was put on by the District Reading and Math Program (RAMP), a summer program which puts an emphasis on art as well.

Program Coordinator Philip Sanders said participants for the program are chosen based upon assessments given throughout the year to see how they have measured up in reading and math.

“We are mainly focused on students retaining what they have learned during the previous school year,” Sanders stated. “We refer to it as avoiding the summer slide. We hope to keep their skills sharp so they can start the new year off on the run.”

One-hundred ten students participated this summer, Sanders said. “We incorporate reading, math, and art,” he explained, pointing out that every class has 30 minutes of art each day.

Many of these young Picasso’s found out just how much they enjoy being creative.

“I worked really hard at my Starry Night mural. It involved the whole school,” student Jacob Keen said. “I like how you can sketch your feelings in art.”

Elayna Fontanez did a butterfly painting using blue and purple as two of the colors. She gets her artistic motivations from what she sees on the big screen.

“I watch movies and I try to copy what (the animators) draw,” Elayna said. “My favorite movie is Aladdin, and I have tried to copy from it.”

Art teacher Jessica Ryan, a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, worked with the young artists.

“I love children, I lived with my cousin who had six kids, and I became like a nanny to them,” she said.

Ryan helped the students with Starry Night by drawing the format. But the piece only became whole after the youngsters got involved.

“The kids really got into it,” the teacher said.

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