WARREN, NJ - A Celebration of the Arts, Warren Township School District’s community event featuring art created by students in kindergarten through grade 8, was held for the first time this spring at Warren Middle School.
This memorable event was the result of many individuals across the district, including the Parent Teacher Organizations from each of the schools, all who worked very hard to transform the middle school into a fine arts museum for the evening. "The fine and performing arts are an invaluable aspect of a student's K-8 experience in Warren. We are very proud of our program and of the opportunity to come together as a school community to celebrate the arts, the wonderful student work, and the efforts of our art and music teachers," stated Mr. William Kimmick, Curriculum Director. Special recognition must be given to Ms. Jennifer Ronkiewicz, Mrs. Susan Sage, Mrs. Meryl Lettire and Mrs. Donna Pellagrino, art teachers, and Mr. Joel Van Tine, Mrs. Amy Jensen and Mrs. Diane McCloskey, music teachers, all of whom were among the many people that were thrilled with the outcome of the evening.“It was an incredible experience to be able to see the amazing artwork that the K-8 Warren Township School District has to offer.
While each student is unique, the same holds true for the teaching styles as well. From refined technical focus of specific art media to a more expressive artistic approach, each teacher gives the Warren students an opportunity to create art in a variety of ways. I hope that this is the first of many more Celebrations of the Arts,” says Ms. Jennifer Ronkiewicz. The variety of art projects on display generated the opportunity for students, parents, educational staff, visitors and administrators to wander each room and appreciate all of the student art work.
Mr. Erwin Ganz, one of the last survivors of Kristallnacht who recently visited Warren Middle School and spoke with the grade eight student body about his life experiences, and his wife, were among the visitors to the art show. As a follow up to Ganz’s visit in April, Mrs. Meryl Lettire coordinated an interdisciplinary project based on Ganz’s presentation. The students created Found poems, expressing their reactions to his life story by taking text from his presentation and reframing those words or phrases as poetry. Ganz and his wife were able to view each project, as well as scan QR codes correlated with the projects to view a short video of the students explaining their individual projects. “I am so proud to be a part of our dynamic art department where students are given amazing opportunities not only to produce works but to learn how art reflects their world and how through art they can express themselves, communicate ideas, and connect with others,” says Mrs. Meryl Lettire. Children of all ages were eager to find their piece of art to share with their family in attendance. Teachers were able to chat with the many supportive parents and guardians and witness their reactions to their child’s artwork. Student artwork was for sale as part of a PTO fundraiser where a percentage of the purchase would go to the child’s specific school. The district plans to continue the Celebration of the Arts event on an annual basis for years to come. “I am so proud to be part of a district where the arts are valued,” says Mrs. Meryl Lettire. “I love to work with my fellow art teachers who bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise along with a passion for the arts to our students. I am thrilled that the community was able to see all of the amazing things being done in our art rooms. I look forward to next year's exhibition.” “The variety of teaching styles and art that related to these ways of teaching was so much fun to see all together,” added Mrs. Donna Pellagrino. “Our students are very talented and their work really showed their abilities to create. I look forward to showcasing my student's artwork in the Celebration of the Arts next year!”“The Celebration of the Arts was a spectacular show of our children's artistic ability! The art teachers work diligently delivering lessons that are more than just being fun; they teach creativity, confidence, decision making, focus, motor skills, and visual-spatial skills,” stated Mrs. Susan Sage. “The beautiful artwork shows the process of learning that benefits the children in so many ways. I look forward to another great year of making art and next year’s art exhibition.”
Photos courtesy of Warren Township Schools:
Photo 1: Sammy Silver, grade 6 student
Photo 2: Mr. and Mrs. Ganz, browsing the Found poems.
Photo 3: Guy and Rhett Nelson, grade 1 and kindergarten
Photo 4: Mia and Summer Shrank, grades 3 and 1
Photo 5: Dia Prabhakar, grade 2
Photo 6: Selina Zhan, grade 5
Photo 7: Zeke Freijomil, grade 3 and Warren Township School Board Member Mrs. Freijomil
Photo 8: Madison and Hunter Slater, grade 2 and kindergarten
Photo 9: Warren Township teachers of Art, Mrs. Meryl Lettire, Ms. Jennifer Ronkiewicz, Mrs. Susan Sage and Mrs. Donna Pellagrino
Photo 10: Brandon Lombardo, grade 7