Texas High stu­dents share pow­er­ful pos­i­tiv­ity

Texarkana Gazette - - ACCENT - By Aaron Brand

The 1894 City Mar­ket down­town hosts tal­ented, cre­ative and thought­ful Texas High School stu­dents Satur­day as part of its Sec­ond Satur­day Trade Days.

With the loss of two stu­dents and more go­ing on, the Texas High com­mu­nity has weath­ered tough times re­cently. But sev­eral art projects have di­rected stu­dent en­er­gies to share a heal­ing, pos­i­tive en­ergy, and they’ll be dis­played dur­ing the trade days at the for­mer Ritchie Gro­cery Build­ing lo­cated at Front and Olive streets.

It’s part of a pro­gram called “Be the Light— The Power of Pos­i­tiv­ity” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That’s the theme. For one thing, some of the cast mem­bers of the Texas High pro­duc­tion “Chem­i­cal Im­bal­ance, a Jekyll and Hyde Play” will per­form what they’re call­ing “tan­ta­liz­ing tid­bits” of the play at 11 a.m. They’ll be there be­tween 10 a.m. and noon.

Var­i­ous forms of art cre­ated by the stu­dents will be dis­played at the 1894 City Mar­ket, too. Texas High English teacher Michele Rig­don says the art­work will ex­hibit val­ues that can make a pos­i­tive im­pact in the world, qual­i­ties like kind­ness, pa­tience, love, peace, faith­ful­ness and more.

To that end, the stu­dents have worked on a “Be the Hero and Bea­con of Hope” project to raise funds for peo­ple in need. As well, the theater pro­gram at Texas High will be rais­ing funds to help a Hous­ton school’s theater de­part­ment, one af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

“It’s a show­case of art, ac­tu­ally art in all forms,” Rig­don said. Vis­i­tors will be able to see black­out po­etry, al­tered books and more.

Al­tered books ex­hibit the words of peo­ple from the past who, in their mo­ment of cri­sis, were able to “be the light in that cir­cum­stance,” Rig­don said. They’re peo­ple like El­iz­a­beth

Eck­ford, one of the Lit­tle Rock Nine stu­dents who fought for school de­seg­re­ga­tion.

The al­tered books come from a Holo­caust and hu­man rights class Rig­don taught at the high school. “These will be there, talk­ing about light from the past,” Rig­don said, not­ing that although Texas High had a dif­fi­cult start to the year, the stu­dents have found ways to lift them­selves up.

“What can you do in a mo­ment like this?” she said about re­spond­ing to a heavy year.

Well, one thing that came about was a teacher-in­spired ef­fort to take sticky notes and put pos­i­tive mes­sages on them. It’s called the Kind­ness Cart, and it al­lows teach­ers and stu­dents to ran­domly share up­lift­ing, en­cour­ag­ing words. A dis­play of those notes will be part of the Satur­day ex­hibit.

“These have been things that have sort of sparked in our own school as a re­sult of what’s hap­pened now,” Rig­don said.

Another part of the pro­gram is dis­play­ing stu­dent art that’s been cre­ated for the Friend­ship Cen­ter in Texarkana. It’s another ex­am­ple of Texas High stu­dents find­ing a way to give to oth­ers, us­ing their artis­tic abil­i­ties.

“All of the art that will be cre­ated will be do­nated to this cen­ter,” Rig­don said.

The idea to bring stu­dents down­town to the City Mar­ket started this past sum­mer when she vis­ited the build­ing. She’d like the build­ing to get more at­ten­tion.

This is a case of a lo­cal busi­ness sup­port­ing the stu­dents and, in turn, Texas High sup­port­ing a busi­ness that seeks to re­ju­ve­nate down­town, the English teacher said. It’s a com­mu­nity part­ner­ship.

The fea­tured artist for this month’s Sec­ond Satur­day Trade Days is Linda Larey.

(For more in­for­ma­tion, check out the 1894 Sec­ond Satur­day Trade Days page on Face­book.)

Pho­tos by Auryeal Parker and Racheal Size­more

“Be the Light—The Power of Pos­i­tiv­ity,” a project that in­cludes drama and art­work done by Texas High School stu­dents, will be fea­tured Satur­day at the 1894 City Mar­ket build­ing at Front and Olive streets.

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