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One Student Can (and Does) Make a Difference

by Yvette Cain
May 24, 2019

Monday night’s Arts and Jazz event at Adams Middle School was the brainchild of Emily Bernardo.  Her goal was to raise money for the Navajo Water Project, a cause that she had heard about and pursued with her research.  The final tally from the evening netted $705.  Congratulations Emily!

Emily (on the right) and her “right hand woman,” Larissa Dasilva, both eighth graders, greeted me in the lobby, both dressed to the nines and very animated with enthusiasm.  The event utilized a large classroom and the adjoining library.  Student artwork was displayed in a gallery-like exhibit, each piece clearly marked with a small card indicating the price. 

Many media were represented: various paints, origami, pottery, beadwork, and other arts and crafts.  Vincent Bernardo, Emily’s proud dad, sat in the midst of the gallery, accepting payments for art and answering the public’s questions—mine included.  He told me that Emily actually has some small amount of Navajo blood, but she was so interested in the cause that she did much research to find out more. 

I followed the art to the library, where an audience had gathered in seats while others stood among the stacks to hear the jazz selections of the Adams Rams Jazz Ensemble, led by Mr. Sean Bilodeau, and members of the chorus, led by Mrs. Rebecca Abalutzk.  The Jazz Ensemble showed their chops with improvisation to Mr. Bilodeau’s accompaniment on the drums and the electric guitar.  The chorus sang old jazz standards sweetly while a hungry audience of adults and children nibbled on chips, dips, fruit, and other snacks strategically placed around the room.

The Navajo Water Project is a program of the DigDeep Right to Water Project.  It serves hundreds of families across nine towns in New Mexico.  Nearly 40% of Navajo do not have a tap or toilet at home.  More information can be found at the Navajo Water Project website:   https://www.navajowaterproject.org/

The curiosity and energy of young students—how wonderful when both are channeled to helping a worthwhile cause.  I applaud Emily’s effort to find a way to not only make a difference, but also to bring an enjoyable event to our Holliston community.

An important update and correction from the Publishers:

Emily’s fundraiser piggy-backed on Adams Middle School’s Annual Arts and Jazz Event.  Working on her project under the guidance of retiring tech education teacher Michelle Roy, Emily pursued her passion and raised $755. 

In addition to Emily’s fundraising for the Navajo Project, other student artwork with an ocean theme raised $736 for ocean conservation through Students Rebuild and its 2019 Ocean Challenge.

 

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