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Winter 2009

Once upon a time ‘Iolani teachers were not teachers just yet. They were children and teenagers like the ones they now instruct. Find out which childhood books inspired our teachers.
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Winter 2009 - Feature

Students Unleash Creativity & Offer Hope to Darfur refugees

Art class is more than just painting pretty pictures. Many times, there are meaning and message behind the work.
Last October, ‘Iolani students donned aprons and wielded paint brushes to transform a blank tent into a message of hope covered with rainbow hues, palm trees and aloha. The students were giving and receiving at the same time: Giving their energy and optimism to people a world away and receiving a valuable lesson.   

Teacher Cheri Keefer and her sixth grade students begin painting the tent which was displayed at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in November.

It was all part of the Tents of Hope national project which transformed refugee tents into unique works of art that expressed compassion and desire for peace for Darfur, Sudan.

Eunice Chang ’10, center, works with Lower School students.
Under the direction of art teacher Cheri Keefer, ‘Iolani worked in conjunction with Humanity United, a philanthropic organization committed to ending modern day slavery and mass atrocities.  The community service project continued the work done last year by the school’s Contemporary Issues class, which raised more than $4,500 for the Dollars for Darfur National School Challenge. Contemporary Issues students, under teacher Lisa Ritts, last held a concert and designed t-shirts to sell as fundraisers. An anonymous donor then matched the amount. 
For Tents of Hope, students from kindergarten to twelfth grade painted the tent’s interior and exterior in vibrant tropical scenes. Keefer explained to students that tents, such as the one they were painting, serve as the only shelter refugees have in the desolate living conditions of Darfur. 

Following the National Mall display, all of the Tents of Hope were sent to Darfur.
The tent was then sent to Washington, D.C., where it was joined by tents painted by students from across the country.

The tents were on display from November 7 to 9 at the National Mall as part of a year-long community awareness project and to serve as a pathway to ending the genocide in Darfur. The Darfur Peace Development Organization eventually sent the tents, along with new ones, to Sudan.
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