Holy Family artists' hopeful reflections win awards
Over the past several months, it is clear that our human capacity to hope can get us through difficult times. Hope does not deny current hardships, but helps us focus on a future of better possibilities.
Two middle school students at Holy Family Catholic Academy (Inverness) recently won awards for using their knowledge, artistic talents and faith to express hope for a better future for many people suffering in our communities.
Annually, seventh-graders at Holy Family Catholic Academy participate in the Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic Campaign for Human Development's "Creating on the Margins" contest. This year, Elle Hohmeier won first place for her wire sculpture titled "Small Things Make The Biggest Difference," while Madeline Ranieri took second place for "Dreaming," an original song she wrote and performed. Elle's project advances to the national competition in Washington, D.C.
CCHD's annual contest asks young people throughout the country in grades seven-12 to learn about poverty in the U.S., its root causes and use art to help educate others on ways the community can address these issues.
This year's theme was "Rebuilding Together at the Margins," and asked students to reflect on the documented disparities in testing and treatment of the COVID-19 virus in underserved communities.
Holy Family Catholic Academy students started this project by researching the causes of poverty and examining the many ways people can find themselves living on the margins of our society. They examined media accounts and analyzed statistics showing the disparity in COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Holy Family Catholic Academy middle school teacher Eileen Paparone, said, "An important next step after summarizing our academic findings was to challenge the students to view life on the margins through the lens of Catholic social teachings, which calls us to protect the dignity of all people and care for others.
"The project culminated with students using a variety of artistic expressions to educate others about what they have learned. The work that went into these entries is a great example of how our faith can move us to action."
Both Elle and Madeline shared they were amazed at learning about the number of people in pain.
"I loved using my art to express how we are all called to help each other, even in small ways," Elle said.
Madeline added, "My song purposely had a somber tone. I thought it was important that I acknowledge people's difficulties and appreciate their hopes and dreams of a better future."
"We are so proud of Elle and Madeline, and all of our students who participated in this contest," said Holy Family Principal Kate O'Brien.
"Our teachers continually look for ways to develop the whole student -- academically, socially and emotionally and spiritually. We certainly cannot give our students all of the answers, but rather, we strive to prepare them to question the world around them, see the world through the lens of their faith and become productive, caring global citizens."