By: Gretchen Stern
The main gallery in this virtual museum displays all the student’s work. There is also a video showing things people might hear that make them feel like they matter less. (Photo Courtesy of Gretchen Stern)
Hilburn Academy is a K-8 school in the Raleigh area. Recently, a few of the students from different grade levels created a project focusing on why they as individuals matter. This event is virtual and available for anyone to see.
The students took a picture or made artwork that symbolizes who they are — and viewers will find that each person’s work is very unique, showing a variety of different ways everyone is both different and important in the world.
One elementary schooler said she matters “because of my family…because of Jesus,” and another elementary-school boy drew a picture showing that he is important because he can protect the Earth by picking up litter and recycling. Even though these two students are young, they understand that they are special to their families, and also special to the world if they use their time and talents wisely.
A middle schooler took a photo that looks like she is “breaking through” something holding her back. She said, “I think of breaking through a wall of mean thoughts of what others think of you and being free to your own opinion about yourself.” When people ignore any hate and negativity thrown at them they are not only helping themselves but they are inspiring others.
Another middle school girl chose to write a poem highlighting how she and others matter. She says, “I am kind, and intelligent too, I matter because I am talented. And there’s lots I can do.”
The end of the gallery shows a short video made in the Raleigh streets. It focuses on what the first middle school girl talked about: rising up in the face of people trying to break you down.
When people feel like they are not important, they need to remember their many attributes that make them worthy — whether that be a passion to help others, a strong work ethic, or a talent in a certain subject. This may involve a lot of positive reassurance, the action of telling yourself that you are enough and that you matter.
Leesville students and others, even adults, can take away a valuable lesson from this display: to always show who you are, unapologetically. Self-love is an issue many struggle with all the time, and to see such an exhibit is heartwarming — these elementary and middle students are learning to love themselves for who they are at a young age and because of this will be better people in the long-run.