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Pearland High School students give the gift of memory

       Pearland High School art students recently shared their talents for a noble cause. The students worked about two months on portraits of underprivileged children ages 6-14 from the Philippines, to be sent abroad as a special childhood memory for the future.


       PHS art teacher Samantha Jowers learned about “The Memory Project”, a nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and students and solo artists to help cultivate global kindness by creating portraits for children around the world and wanted to offer this opportunity to her students. The children portrayed in the artwork have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, war, extreme poverty, neglect or loss of parents. Creating portraits for them is an artistic way of showing support and honoring their strength, while helping inspire courage and resilience in them.

       The community service project was optional and embraced by nine PHS art students, from 9th-12th grades.

       The Memory Project provided the process for creating the pieces which consisted of poking holes in a picture around the subject’s face to create a tracing, allowing the art students to get a better likeness and accuracy.

       “It’s not easy to do someone’s portrait. It takes confidence and desire to please,” Jowers said. “And they are pretty accurate. I’m very impressed by what my students were able to do.”

       The Memory Project allowed PHS art students to not only explore their own artistic talents, but to grow, too.

        “Participating in this community service project is relevant for art students because it gives them an opportunity to reach outside of themselves, which is huge,” Jowers said. “These students chose to think of someone else, taking their own time, energy and effort. They overcame the fear of not doing it right - a growing opportunity for them while also learning new skills for our art classes.”

       The portraits created by PHS artists will be delivered to the Filipino children this January, along with a picture and a short letter with greetings from the student artist who created it.

       “The artwork is ‘just a thing’. But it might be the one thing that makes the child portrayed feel valued or find some self-worth,” Jowers said. “They might think: ‘Someone, some student in America, took the time to work on this just for me.”