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Building Community One Student at a Time

Written by: 8th Grade Students, Carly Hornyak and Gesthika Kaltsidis

         John T. Tuck Public School took part in a unique community building activity. Mrs. Brown, a grade 8 teacher organized an event that included all students from JK to grade 8, all teachers, all secretaries, all administrators and the custodial staff, too!

         Daniel Dancer, a conceptual artist who believes in teaching values that are not a regular practice in our classroom was the perfect choice for this activity.  We were the first school in Canada to participate in an Art For The Sky project.

         Art for the Sky is an enlarged painting created by using people as human paint drops and donated clothing.  Goodwill came through for us and donated hundreds of pairs of blue jeans and helped our school create a loon in its natural habitat, a lake.   When we were setting up on the ground, as individuals we felt insignificant but when viewed from the sky we could see that together we were able to create a whole picture.  This experience internalized the teachings Daniel taught us through his weeklong residency.  He has dedicated his life to sharing these teachings with schools throughout North America.

          There are five main teachings that Daniel shares.  First, we learn about sky sight. For many, this concept is the most challenging. It is the ability to see the “big picture” from a bird’s eye view.  He believes this concept is vital for our species to survive.

         Collaboration is the second teaching Daniel offered. It allowed us the opportunity to work together as a whole community instead of individuals. This teaching is the key to the success, not only of this project, but the key to succeeding in life.

         Art For The Sky teaches us about gratitude. It shows not only gratitude to one another but to nature as well.  When we gave up our picture to the sky, we continued a legacy that Daniel started.  

         Interconnection is another one of his teachings. We realized that to complete a puzzle, you need every piece. It showed us that we were only a small part, a piece of the earth. All living things are interconnected, and all have an equal importance to this big puzzle. Without one piece, the puzzle is incomplete, therefore, creating an imbalance in nature.

         Finally, we learned about impermanence.  Like nature, some things are always changing, and it is never the same. Civilization has been covering up nature for years with permanent materials like concrete but our loon was impermanent.  After the pictures were taken, our loon slowly dissolved until all that was left was the outline of our great masterpiece and Lake Goodwill.

         Nature plays an important role in our lives.  We must not take it for granted but be grateful for what we have.  This experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity that John T. Tuck was proud to participate in.   Special thanks to Daniel Dancer, who opened our eyes and showed us that even though we are a small part of the earth, we can make a difference!