By Powerful Schools (RVP sponsor)
RAINIER VALLEY – Anton Xu is a third grader at Maple Elementary on Beacon Hill.
Last month, nine-year-old Anton worked intently and quietly on his art project during the last few weeks of Powerful Schools’ Extended Learning after-school class, World Art. The students were making dolls from Papua, New Guinea that are used to represent people, such as family members, important figures and kings. Using clay, feathers, beads and sea shells, Anton proudly showed off his doll.
“I really like art class because we get to make art from all around the world, like clay dolls and pictures,” said Anton. “This class taught me about different places around the world, how they draw and what other people do that I didn’t know about.”
This is Anton’s second after-school art class. His favorite art projects are sculpting and drawing.
“Anton is a curious learner, always engaged and asking clarifying questions,” said Powerful Schools’ Teaching Artist Jeanne Dodds. “After understanding the essential concepts of projects as presented, I’ve seen him take off in new directions to explore art on his own. He thrives under very limited direction and positive reinforcement, and has an inner creativity that is fantastic to see.”
The after-school class World Art exposes youth to the diversity of ways in which cultures create art. It allows learners to travel both in time (when studying ancient art forms) and to different places. Students in the class
often experience cross-over between the cultures they have in their heritage and the places that they study, which allows for exciting opportunities for students to share information about their personal and family background.
This creates a respectful environment where students can get to know one another and appreciate and honor differences.
Besides art, Anton’s favorite subject in school is math because he realizes math is used in everyday life. He likes multiplication the best and is most proud of the time he received a prize for winning a multiplication competition.
Like many boys his age, Anton loves Pokemon. Currently, he loves to draw them and surf the internet to find other designer’s new Pokemon creations. His dream is to be a Pokemon creator, where he will get to develop new characters, powers and eventually even a new game. He is also interested in developing Pokemon robots.
When he’s not daydreaming about Pokemon or creating art projects, Anton likes to spend time with his two older siblings. He says he most looks up to his mom because she helps him do his homework and teaches him how to cook. So far he has gotten really good at making eggs.
Powerful Schools is an award winning non-profit that has been working to close the achievement gap by creating partnerships with local public schools for over 20 years. Through literacy programs, arts and after-school classes, Powerful Schools’ works with more than 4,000 children and their families in 12 Seattle and South King County elementary schools and five CDSA preschools.
The Powerful People series is a way for Powerful Schools to highlight – through the Rainier Valley Post – some of the work its talented students, instructors and volunteers are accomplishing in the Rainier Valley.
A third grader at Maple Elementary, Anton has exhibited great enthusiasm, creativity and work ethic during his Powerful Schools’ Extended Learning after-school class World Art. Photo/Powerful Schools