Art & Craft teacher Claudia Valies is on a mission to showcase the important creative work that is being done by her students at the Vocational School in South Reward.
She recently organized a painting and woodworking contest at the school in collaboration with TelEm Group and came out of the experience totally satisfied with the result and all the more eager to bring out even more of the creative and hidden talents of the youth under her charge.
"When TelEm Group presented us with the opportunity to have the students create works of art and showcase them to the public I jumped at the chance because I believe the students here have been stigmatized for a long time and need to show what they can do," said Ms. Valies.
She said the original idea was to have the students make art in keeping with TelEm Group’s observance of HIV/AIDS awareness month in May this year.
"When TelEm Group said we could use any theme we wanted, I jumped at the idea to leave the subject open to the student’s own creativity under the theme of "Nature" to see what they could come up with themselves with a little guidance", explained Ms. Valies.
She said various works were completed in the painting category on panel and canvas adopting the theme of nature
There were some interesting figurative and abstract creations coming out of the process.
in the woodworking category, the students really went to town, making bowls, bats, beds and furniture for the home.
TelEm Group has some of the artwork and woodwork on display in the public area of the main building on Pond Island, which Ms. Valies believes is another major achievement for the students, many of whom have never had their work on display, let along in such a public area.
This coming school term, she would like to bring out even more of the creativity of her students.
She also believes other companies can play their part by following the lead of TelEm Group by also putting the work of these budding artists and craftsmen and craftswomen on display.
In the three years that Ms. Valies has been teaching art & craft in the Vocational School she has become committed to her work and to helping students achieve their full potential.
"All they require is guidance, an outlet for their creative energies and encouragement from the community and their peers," continued Ms. Valies.
She says she is looking forward to more exposure for the students when TelEm Group puts some of the work on auction during one of the company’s upcoming public events.
"They will be further encouraged to know that people not only like their work, but are willing to pay money for it," said the dedicated teacher.
The Art & Craft of the Vocational School students can be seen on display in the main lobby area of the TelEm Group building during normal working hours.
Woodworking items are also available directly from the school located in South Reward.
For its part, TelEm Group says it is pleased to offer assistance to the students, especially since the effort also helped to bring attention the company’s own marking of HIV/AIDS awareness on St. Maarten.