How two local teachers are using art to foster local and cross-cultural connections Little Silver, N.J.
LITTLE SILVER, NJ - Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, school programs have been finding new and innovative ways to engage the school community. Two teachers at Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) in Little Silver, N.J. are taking engagement a step further showing that even in these ever-changing times, the arts are happening and have the potential to connect local and global communities. Claudia O’Connor (Studio Art Academy) and Meaghan McDavitt (Creative Writing Academy) have joined forces to make big impacts in the RBR community, and with Sysy House of Fame, a non-profit art education organization in Cameroon, Africa.
O’Connor and McDavitt’s art and writing students collaborated to write and illustrate 9 children books that were anthologized into, “WonderStories: Imaginative Fables by Fantastical Youth.” The stories focus on elements of the human experience relevant across the globe; loss of a loved one, fear of change, individuality, and acceptance are just some of the themes the stories explore. The anthology will be published in print and digital formats and sold on Amazon beginning on March 26th. All proceeds will be donated to Sysy House of Fame to help their mission of empowering the youth in Cameroon through education and artistic outlets. After its release, students from RBR and Sysy House of Fame plan to meet virtually for discussions of community, the themes discussed in the books, and the Sysy students will reveal their plans for their own pieces of art inspired directly from the children’s books; final products of which will be shared with the art and writing academies. “WonderStories'' is opening the dialogue across continental lines and connecting students through their common love for creativity.
Connecting the local RBR community, O’Connor and McDavitt reimagined a school tradition of a literary and art magazine. “LitArt Mag” is a Digital Creative Arts Magazine for students in the regional high school. The magazine combines the vast variety of talents that litter the hallways and puts them in a public forum to help individuals gain notoriety for their abilities in the times of the pandemic where in-person performances are banned. The magazine is working on its third edition and is gaining more traction with the students as a place to be seen and heard.
O’Connor and McDavitt plan to continue their trajectory of innovation and collaboration to show the world that creativity is a powerful vessel that can connect communities and initiate change.
The Creative Writing & Studio Art academies are specialized programs for students that show passion and talent in the disciplines.
To purchase a copy of “WonderStories: Imaginative Fables by Fantastical Youth” visit Amazon on, or after March 26th.
To learn more about Sysy House of Fame, their mission, and the great work they are doing for students in Cameroon, visit their website at: www.SysyHouseOfFame.org
To read past and upcoming editions of the LitArt Mag, visit the digital magazine at: https://sites.google.com/rbrhs.org/litartmag/home