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Here there be dragons - lots of ‘em - I.S. 228 creates colony of fanciful creatures

Students at I.S. 228 David A. Boody School for Magnet Studies took a stand against violence in a rather surprising way.

They spent six weeks creating papier-mâché dragons to be used as decorations for a gala hosted by Council for Unity, a non-profit organization supporting anti-violence programs in public schools.

“We have Council for Unity in our school community. It’s a great program to promote unity, safety and achievement in our schools,” explained Principal Dominick D’Angelo. “We were asked by the program director about creating these dragons so we turned it into a very big teaching and learning program with our art students.”

More than 100 students worked on the dragons with art teacher Lisa Banker. The experience not only provided a service for Council for Unity, it allowed students to receive vital arts education in a time when English Language Arts (ELA), math and standardized tests are tops in public schools.

“The arts are very important,” D’Angelo acknowledged. “Sometimes they’ll take a backseat to the general main content areas but the students need an arts program.”

By creating the dragons, students were able to learn about teamwork, unity and tolerance – the key points of the anti-violence Council for Unity program.

“That really brought a lot of unity within the school and the classrooms,” D’Angelo said.

Through this art project and the Council for Unity program, which works with groups of students from various ethnic backgrounds, a sense of acceptance and open-mindedness has made its way around Boody, which is located at 228 Avenue S.

“They learn a lot about each other. It only helps build the respect,” D’Angelo said. “I think it really has given students a different perspective about bullying – it’s not to be tolerated at all.”

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