Expressions of love

Children’s gratitude, creativity shines through in Mother’s Day art contest

By DANIEL KITTREDGE
Posted 5/7/21

“You help me when I’m stuck,” one reads.

“You never stop until the job is done,” says another.

Then, an expression of gratitude with a more whimsical tone: …

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Expressions of love

Children’s gratitude, creativity shines through in Mother’s Day art contest

Posted

“You help me when I’m stuck,” one reads.

“You never stop until the job is done,” says another.

Then, an expression of gratitude with a more whimsical tone: “I wish I could buy my mom a bouncy house.”

These are among messages inscribed on Mother’s Day artwork completed in recent weeks by local Catholic school students – in this case, by children at Warwick’s St. Peter School, where Christine Desmarais serves as principal.

“They are really cute … Some of them are just absolutely adorable,” she said of the artwork and messages. With a laugh, she added: “Probably some of them are more truthful than their mom wants them to be.”

The advertising team at Beacon Communications envisioned the student Mother’s Day art contest as a way to generate excitement, foster creativity and celebrate moms after what has been an enormously challenging year.

Administrators and educators at the participating schools say it had the desired effect.

Desmarais said St. Peter students “were very serious about it” and excited at the prospect of having their work featured in the newspaper.

Regina Hand, principal at St. Rocco School in Johnston, said the students at her school – from the youngest grades on up – were “excited about [the contest] right from the beginning.”

Students had time to conceptualize and create their submissions, she said, and their thoughtfulness shone throne in the final products. Many “chose to write a few sentences about their moms … all the things that they mean to them, and the things that they do for them every day.”

“If you look at the variety of pictures that were handed in, and you look at the perception of how they see their moms, it’s remarkable … you can really see what they’re trying to highlight about their moms,” she said.

She added: “You can see the range of artistic ability. I think each student dug down and tried to find the very best that they could put together for their moms.”

Sister Donna, who helped oversee the contest at St. Rocco, said she was impressed with the children’s artistic ability. The school, she said, is “very happy to share our students’ talents with the public.”

“They really know their mother, and they really put a lot of effort into making it as real as they could,” she said. “They love their mothers, and they were very excited to draw a picture of them and think of them … They always talk about their moms, and they love their moms.”

Colleen Quattromani, a fourth-grade teacher at St. Rose of Lima School in Warwick, said many of her students incorporated similar elements in their Mother’s Day artwork.

“A lot of pets, a lot of coffee,” she said with a laugh.

But the students also “spoke about how the moms take care of the family,” particularly during the uncertainty and disruption of the pandemic.

“They were very grateful for their moms,” Quattromani said. She also spoke of the pride students took in their work, and how important the pieces were to them: “They really wanted to surprise their moms and they wanted to do it in class so mom wouldn’t see it at home.”  

The contest proved meaningful for the administrators and educators, too.

Hand recalls having the chance to look through the St. Rocco submissions while preparing them to be dropped off the day before April vacation.

“So many of them spoke to me,” she said.

Desmarais, whose mother passed away over the summer, said this year’s Mother’s Day is a bit sad for her. But she looks forward to a relaxing day, hopefully celebrating with all three of her sons – and the contest provided a welcome reminder of the day’s importance.

“It’s always been special,” she said.

Quattromani, who lost her own mother two years ago, echoed Demarais’s sentiment.

“It was very important for me to have [the students] do this, being a mom myself,” she said. “Letting them have this opportunity to show how significant a mom is their own life.”

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