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Hershey High Students Render Inclusive Art Work - abc27 WHTM

Hershey High Students Render Inclusive Art Work

Hershey High Students Render Inclusive Art Work

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It's not what a group of Hershey High School students are doing, it's why.

"Take some time to get to know somebody who you wouldn't meet otherwise and make sure that, even if it slows you down a little, you help them," said Kimberly Resh. Resh is the founder of Mikayla's Voice, a non-profit organization dedicated to projects that include both special needs students and normal needs students.

In this case, young people with different ability levels worked side by side creating a mural of the head of the school's mascot, the Trojan..

The art project is called Wheels of Friendship. In four Monday sessions, about 30 students worked with five special needs students, using acrylic paint and decoupage, to make the mural. Included on the finished work are wheel tracks from painted wheels of a wheel chair.

The project is a collaborative effort between The Arc of Pennsylvania and Mikayla's Voice.

"This project is to highlight the fact that there are many more things that are alike about students in a high school than there are different," said Pam Klipa, Advocacy Director of the Arc of Pennsylvania.

Maria Chroneos, one of the project's student leaders, says the students are learning about similarities among students, not differences.

"Everybody has dreams and aspirations," said Chroneos. "We just need to learn to love each other and accept each other for those similarities."

In the spirit of inclusion, even Gem, the school's guidance dog, was willing to help. Gem later added paw prints to the artwork, next to student foot prints. And, throughout these paint and decoupage sessions, there was plenty of time for bonding.

"They love it. It allows them to have art work," said senior Ann Marie Gardner. "It allows them to make new friends and to just go to class and do something different once in a while because they don't get these opportunities often."

The finished mural is displayed in the high school as a colorful reminder that everyone deserves a chance to participate.

"The fact that we're all different makes us all alike,"" added Resh.
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