Dragon art project takes off

Left to right: Junior Anna Solberg, senior Mason Rumpf, senior Katie Regan, Diane Nelson, senior Chloe Keeney, junior Paige Grave, Heath Pattschull, senior Travis Krugler and Teresa Lori display the program’s art pieces. The goal of the program is for students to be able to become independent in the working environment.

Sarah Ross, Feature Editor

Every Thursday Anna Solberg and Paige Grave head to the art room to help create vintage art pieces with other members of the Dragon Art Program. The program just recently started selling the art creations to employees in the school district.

The project began as a way to prepare students with special needs for the working world.

“We are trying to get kids to love to work,” Work Experience Coordinator, Heath Pattschull said.

Pattschull created the program which involves nine students building art pieces out of recycled wood in the woodshop and art classrooms . The students meet two periods a day each Thursday.

“We wanted a way that the kids could use their hands and bring color to something,” Pattschull said.

Each student is involved in at least one step of the project whether it be painting the wood, adding unique touches or painting on an inspirational quote.

“It’s fun for us and we get to do great artwork and show it to the school,” senior Katie Regan, who is a part of the project, said.

The art pieces that the students are making are being sold to staff once each week. The money from the pieces then goes toward purchasing more supplies to keep the program going.

Director of Special Education, Vickie McCool ended up buying one of these pieces of art.

McCool had heard about the project from Pattschull and had seen some of the completed pieces which lead her to buying an art piece.

“I really liked it and decided to ask them to make me one with my favorite saying, “No one cares what you know until they know you care,” McCool said.

McCool also requested that all the students who contributed to the piece write their names on the back of it. The art piece now hangs in McCool’s office.

The  program also allows students to visit work sites each week such as working in cafeterias or assisting the elderly.

Pattschull’s purpose in these working experiences is to get students prepared to be independent after high school and be able to work in entry-level jobs.

Although the main goal of the project is for students to become independent Pattschull doesn’t lose site of having the experiences being fun.

“I want them to feel a sense of joy and purpose when working,” Pattschull said.