National Art Honor Society: Strengthening Character Through Creativity

Karen Rose, Staff Writer

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The National Art Honors Society (NAHS), a club here at MHS, is a place where creativity and character are strengthened and where students look beyond themselves and use their skills and innovation to serve.

The club has a list of projects for students to choose from that will ultimately add up to forty hours of service during the course of the year. The purpose? To highlight the scholarship of students as they support their community— all through the visual arts.

Alice Bennett, ‘19, is helping with the creation of murals in kindergarten classrooms at Scenic Heights Elementary School. Each mural will depict the phrase “love to learn,” but it is with the childrens’ help that they will become truly unique.

Bennett explains that, “in the background we are going to put all the things that the kids told us that they loved…different seasons, sports, their interests in or after school…so they can see that everyday and make their learning more enjoyable.”

The childrens’ input on what they want to see on the mural will create a more positive and personal surrounding.

Bennett feels that “people a lot of the time underestimate creativity as a part of the school environment, and how design for learning plays a big part in that as well. We want the classroom to feel like it’s the students’ classroom too— not just the teachers.’”

Other NAHS projects include painting ceiling tiles at middle schools, Writing Center photo exhibitions, animal shelter photography, art activities at the Trails of Orono retirement facility, and many more.

A consistent favorite has been The Memory Project, where students are paired with a child in need from a different country and make a portrait of them.

“The connection formed by creating a portrait of someone can be really powerful.  We receive a video of the portraits being delivered to the children in June of our work. It is always a tear jerker” said Mrs.Mozingo, the adviser of NAHS.

“You feel accomplished once you do something that’s not just for a grade, but it’s for something bigger,” Bennett explains.

This can be seen in their work at the Trails of Orono Retirement home, where NAHS students work on art projects with the senior citizens who reside there.

“I am always impressed with students and their ability to reach beyond themselves and be aware of the emotional needs of the residents,” said Mozingo. “The service is ultimately in the bond that is formed.”

There are a myriad of lessons to be learned from joining. Mrs. Mozingo noted how she enjoys seeing students evolve in their thinking and take ownership of  their own learning.

“They gain insights about service for others, how to use their art skills in a way that connects folks, manage people and navigate both good and challenging events, and how much planning goes into projects.”

NAHS is open to all upperclassmen. Those who join will become more involved in the school art program, meet many people with the same interests, and help shine light on the creativity that is everywhere in our school.

Mrs. Mozingo says that “whether it is a final exhibition of work, time working on organizing a classroom, [or] aesthetic touches within a classroom, all [projects] have the ability to humanize our experiences.”

If you are interested in learning more information about the club or how to become a member of NAHS, contact Mrs. Mozingo.

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