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Longmeadow High School fundraiser benefits Wounded Warrior’s Project

Date: 12/18/2014

LONGMEADOW – Art students at Longmeadow High School (LHS) will be selling handmade mugs inscribed with personalized inspirational quotes for “Operation Inspire,” a fundraiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior’s?Project.

“I teach all the sculpture and ceramics [courses] within the department,” Deborah Callahan, Art Department chair at LHS, said. “And over the years, I’ve tried to do some sort of community service project with my classes [each year.]”

Students from Callahan’s classes made about 90 mugs, across grade levels in four of her classes. The fundraiser began on Dec. 16 and will be available for $10 each in the front lobby of LHS until all of the mugs are sold.

“When I was looking for a cause, I thought of someway helping military families in general,” she added. “It’s definitely a hardship.”

LHS Assistant Principal Lisa Efstratios contacted Col. Alex Haldopoulos of the 104th Operations Group at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, she explained. Haldopoulos has a son in one of Callahan’s classes.

The building of the mug is a technique that actively engages students with the creation of ceramic artwork, Callahan said.

“The idea for the inspirational messages was my idea and partly that was, I wanted to teach some techniques to some of my classes. On some of them, we silk screen printed lettering on our ceramic pieces,” she added.

Students in Callahan’s advanced honors sculpture and ceramics courses use a potter’s wheel to build their mugs, she noted. However, students in introductory courses build their mugs by using a slab, a flat piece of clay used to mold the mugs.

Callahan said she organized a mug sale about five years ago to benefit the Red Foundation, a worldwide organization initiative with a goal to end HIV and AIDS.

Another fundraiser was for “Empty Bowls,” a concept where artists create bowls for a dinner where people eat a simple meal of soup and bread, she added.

“The funds of the sale go to a hunger charity,” Callahan said. “I did one two years ago. Every kid made a bowl.”

Every student chose a personalized quote for their mug that could be anything they’d want it to be, from heartfelt to humorous, she added.

Chris Miller, a junior at LHS in Callahan's sculpture and ceramics class, said his inspirational quote was the title of Joe Walsh’s 1978 hit “Life’s Been Good” from the album “But Seriously Folks…”

“A few years ago, there was some tragedy in my family and friends,” he added. “We used to listen to that song and it made me happier.”

Sabrina, a senior at LHS in Callahan’s sculpture and ceramics class, said her inspirational quote was “peace comes from within.”

“I’ve always been interested in positivity and reading books about living a more positive lifestyle,” she added.