Staff at Urbana Junior High School recently asked students “why you matter?”
Each student wrote their response on a white board and was then photographed individually holding their sign stating why they feel they matter.
“We saw an article that London Middle School had participated in the #Whyyoumatter campaign and wanted to incorporate that idea into our larger project,” said McKenzie Lamb, a counselor at Urbana Junior High School. “Some of the messages are heartfelt, some are funny, but all are touching in their unique way and we hope that seeing the pictures displayed in our building serves as a reminder to our students that they are worthy. Their stories matter. They matter.”
This “Why You Matter” project is part of a bigger project of 6th grade art teacher Mandy Parker and Lamb, who presented the idea of completing a Project Based Learning (PBL) activity on stigmas related to mental health.
Parker said the larger project, Stomping Out Stigma, dives into the negative perceptions of mental health challenges. Students created a variety of projects depicting the negatives that society labels mental health.
The project was planned to be set up and viewed as if you were in a museum.
Due to COVID-19, the event has to be virtual.
“We have a video coming out of the art installation created,” said Parker.
“The overall response from staff and students (down to the elementary level) has been awesome,” said Parker. “The kids are curious and love reading them. This would have been great for the entire district to be involved in.”
The “why you matter” display was set up on Nov. 10 and will be removed over Christmas break.
Andrew Grimm is a regular contributor to this newspaper. To reach him email UDCeditor@aimmediamidwest.com.