• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Using art, music to express their emotions on social issues

A sculpture of a dead coral reef was a chance for Caroline Robinowitz to

express her feelings about climate change. It’s a global issue this St.

Leo eight-grader said she’s been “really passionate about” since fourth


“I like that my school gives me an opportunity to express what I feel

passionate about through art and music,” said Caroline, 14. “You can’t

show through a math problem that you’re passionate about the Earth. You

can show it through art and music because those really show emotions.”

A purple, white and gold flag in a painting by Millie McEntee

represented her passion about women’s rights. “I’ve always wanted to

stand up for people’s rights (and those who) want their voices heard,”

explained the 13-year-old, who said she wants to serve in the U. S.

Senate someday. She credited her parents and teachers for encouraging

her to always stand up for what she believes in.

Fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at St. Leo School

were given an opportunity to share their passion on a variety of topics.

For Ian Griffin, playing a song on his guitar can help him gain a deeper

understanding of what’s happening in the world around him. Specifically

in this project, he played low and high musical notes to share his

feelings about people who say they’re going to do something to help the

environment, but don’t.

“Music helps me express my feelings in the moment,” said Ian, an


Sixth-grader Elijah Danford’s sculpture – a plate of food – was created

to bring awareness to world hunger, he said.

The 11-year-old said he’s reminded of this issue whenever his family

travels to a large city and sees someone holding a sign that reads,

“Will work for food.” So he’s proud that his Cub Scout Pack 32 collected

over 3,000 pounds of donated food for the Food Pantry for Woodford

County over the last two years.

Emma Melanson painted a community garden because she said no one should

go hungry and everyone deserves to eat a breakfast, lunch and dinner. If

someone doesn’t have a meal to eat, she said, “It’s really sad to me.”

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred St. Leo’s art and music teacher, Rosie

Fedorchuk, to do a unit on art and activism so her students could

express their feelings on a variety of social justice issues, she explained.

In addition to creating art for social issues that they are passionate

about, students chose a song like “We are the World” and “One Love”

about their topics, Fedorchuk said. She said the Principals of Catholic

Social Teaching provided a basis for the variety of art projects created

by students at St. Leo. Students also learned about artists and

musicians who used their craft to promote social justice, she added.

“The things that we get to create have a purpose,” explained Maddie

Rabinowitz, “and could help people change their … beliefs …”

Abstract art was Libby Rowe’s canvas to freely express her emotions and

feelings about climate change. She used colors – blue fading into red –

to show the effects of warming temperatures, with an end result being

polluted water, she said. All of the animals affected by climate change

and pollution inspired her art, she added.

Art allowed this 13-year-old to “express things that I can’t quite say …

that I don’t understand how to say. So I can express (my feelings)

through art,” she explained.

“You can show your emotions through art, or you can show your beliefs or

passions,” said Millie.

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