At the end of the semester, Christine Ireland wants her students to have learned as much about their local community as they have about digital art.
That's why she is currently combining the two by training the teens in her applied art class at Southern Westchester BOCES to illustrate stories written by 5th graders from Armonk’s Byram Hills School District. The stories will later be bound and made into children's books.
“I thought it would be a nice experience for both classes. Plus, we happened to be doing an illustration unit,” she said.
As part of the class curriculum, Ireland teaches her students how to create art using digital software tools. And just like a real job, the students will learn to efficiently meet time-sensitive deadlines.
Ireland has also helped her students realize the rewards of aiding a worthy cause. Just last month, she collaborated with the school's horticulture department to sell flower bouquets and balloons to benefit the White Plains chapter of March of Dimes.
The proceeds from the fundraiser, which was held in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, went towards the charity's mission to fund research and help families care for premature babies.
Since Ireland’s son Damon was nine weeks premature when he was born, she felt a personal connection with the cause.
She says involving the 16-21 year olds in these philanthropic activities allow her to “teach the whole child," and open their minds a bit further.
"They are out in the community and getting real world experience," she says.