YESS at Shaw Middle Heights

YESS at Shaw Middle Heights

Self Portraits & Mentors at the 5th Grade Fair!

Brenna, myself and Advino at the 5th Grade Fair!

This past week in our YESS classes at Shaw Heights we did a fantastic art project and we hosted a table at the 5th Grade Fair for two days. We were so excited to begin our self-portrait projects, and it was made even more special by the showing our 5th grade visitors our classroom and all the great work our scholars have done all year long. We also began preparing for Parent Conferences, which will take place next week.

Advino and Brenna speak to students about their experiences in YESS.

The 5th Grade Fair was an awesome opportunity for our YESS mentors to directly speak to incoming 5th graders about their experiences and why YESS helped them during middle school. Several mentors assisted me in setting up a display table in the gym, where we showcased past projects such as our emotion sculptures. The 5th graders were guided around the gym by our WEB leaders, many of whom are also YESS mentors. Each group got a chance to hear about the program and about our YESS mentors and how many went from being shy, depressed, introverted, angry, defiant, disruptive, argumentative, negative students to empowered, confident, kind, respectful, supportive, hard working scholars. I was so impressed by the efforts of Ava Martinez, Adivno Sawa-Baldizan, Stacey Tejeda-Sandoval, Brenna Torres, and Ariana Miller to connect with these 5th graders and to speak honestly about the obstacles they have overcome with the support of YESS. It is amazing to see how far they have come, but it is even more rewarding to hear them speak to the necessity of helping others and how great they feel being able to help their mentees out this year. I am so thankful to the staff at Shaw Heights for covering my classroom in order to allow me to be present at this year’s 5th Grade Fair! It was a wonderful two days and I am so excited for all the new 5th graders to come to Shaw in the fall.

Mentors and their mentees hard at work in 5th hour.

Our YESS scholars were thrilled to finally get to make their self-portrait projects this past week. So many mentors had spoken about the project, and we have many artists in YESS who are always happy to hear about a new art opportunity. Before we began the project we discussed the concept of self-portraits and touched on the fact that, just like poetry, a self-portrait does not necessarily have to “be” anything- though, just like poetry, it must evoke emotion and have a connection to the artist. We did some research on famous artists and their self-portraits, and we took a look at some modern concepts. Our scholars quickly got to work, and it wasn’t long before I was moved to tears by several of the projects. They are all so unique and heartfelt, and I really admire the honesty and accountability I am seeing in the art and design of these projects.

Caillou and Ryan work on their self-portraits in 5th hour.
Ivan did an amazing job on his project!