January 1, 2014 | Vol.54 N.1

LSMS encourages artful expression

Her name is Rosie. She's an elephant. She's more than six feet tall and 10 feet wide, and she's giving a voice to students at Lake Stevens Middle School.

Students are encouraged to write anonymous messages and post them on Rosie - the elephant in the room.

The project started earlier this school year when members of the Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club wanted to do something to combat isolation and bullying.

FOR is named after Rachel Scott, the first student killed in the tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999.

"Rosie helps kids who are going through tough times," said Tyler Koon, a sixth-grader. "We learned about little elephants that were put onto a reservation and were killing the rare white rhinos who shared their space. The killing stopped after bigger elephants were introduced to teach the smaller ones to get along. The goal of our club is 'don't be a little elephant, be a big one.' Rosie is a big one."

Rosie's messages range from encouraging quotes to things students have overcome, such as the divorce of their parents and eating disorders.

On Dec. 17, Rosie traveled across the trestle for Open Studio Night for Teens at the Schack Art Center in Everett. Several LSMS students attended the event to engage with other students to encourage them to write their own messages.

"I'm fairly new to the club, but I really like how kids can share their stories and be proud of who they are," said Journey Scott, a seventh-grader. "No one needs to know your name - just being able to share your thoughts with Rosie helps when things are hard or intense."

The FOR club is led by LSMS teachers Heather Beg and Jody Cain.

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