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Common ground: Students from SCITS, St Clair join forces on collaborative art project

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Cathy Dobson

Sixteen-year-old Mya Chiasson is positively determined to fight the negativity.

In fact, her entire design class at SCITS wants to bridge the growing divide between their school and St. Clair Secondary as the debate over consolidation rages on.

“We want students from both schools to come together,” said Chiasson. “All these negative comments from (older) people need to stop.

“Students at SCITS have nothing against the students at St. Clair.”

“We know a merge between our two schools is going to happen. We know it’s a good thing and we want it to be less negative,” agreed classmate Anne Naylor.

They are part of a team of students in Jenn McQuade’s Grade 11/12 design class recently awarded $1,000 from the Sarnia Awesome Foundation for an art project designed to create positive vibes.

They will work with St. Clair’s art club to build a six-foot wooden paint palette with various colour swatches representing good will and collaboration between the schools.

When it’s finished, the sculpture will be prominently displayed in the new school – at whichever location is chosen by board trustees on May 10.

A giant paint brush with the school’s new name on it will accompany the palette.

“By building something together, we will get to know the students at St. Clair,” said Naylor. “The idea with the palette is that it mixes paint to blend us together.”

Various colour swatches on the giant palette will feature creative ideas like fused glass pieces, a collage of yearbook photos, a digital video frame with changing photographs and a red heart with thumbprints from students at both schools.

McQuade said her students brainstormed and came up with the concept together, then went to a pitch party and presented their project to the judges of the local Awesome Foundation.

Some of the money will be used to provide transportation between the two schools so the students can work together this spring.  SCITS alumnus Tavis Lea is building the two pieces.

“The students don’t want any more negativity,” McQuade said. “We need to focus on the positives.”

When the two student bodies merge, more sports teams will be possible, more class selections will be offered and there will be more opportunity to socialize, she pointed out.

“These kids are leaders,” she said of the design team.  “It’s all about changing the message.”

“That’s right,” added Chiasson.  “Just because we love SCITS doesn’t mean we hate St. Clair.”

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