HOLYOKE, Massachusetts (WGGB) — There was an unveiling of sorts Thursday morning at a Holyoke school. An unveiling that shows that a lot of paint and even more heart can make the difference in the lives of some young women looking for a fresh start.
A mural now spans 50 feet of wall space outside the main office of Holyoke’s Peck Middle School. This isn’t just any art project. It’s the work of a number of teen mothers from the city’s Care Center. Holyoke Care Center art teacher Ezra Parzybok says it’s part of a longstanding relationship between the school and the center. “The philosophy of education is similar. We’re really trying to give the students a whole education, where they’re learning arts, the families can be involved.
The Care Center’s goal is to provide teen mothers the skills they need to succeed in college so they can break the cycle of poverty. Parzybok says the most important part of the project is that his students are seeing something from start to finish. “When you have a little piece of paper and you have to draw a flower and you think this little flower has to go on a huge wall and it still has to be painted and look beautiful and everybody’s going to see it, well, how am I going to get there. It’s a little nerve wracking. So if you can start and stick with it every step of the way, then you learn that sense of accomplishment from having started a long term project and seeing it through to the end.”
Seventeen-year-old Priscilla Colon of Holyoke is one of the fourteen student artists who made the mural, describes her work. “We put polka dots, we did the lines to make it look a little more alive. The colors are dark, then light, so it can stand out more.”
Eighteen-year-old Dalisa Saldana of Chicopee is another young artists, who like the others, is very proud of her work, “I didn’t know that I could do it. But I put interest in it and it came out the way it is.”
Parzybok adds, “I’ve always believed the girls are capable of something alot higher than they believe they are and if we can just get them to see it, then they’ll really go to that place where it’s a real living example of what they’re capable of.”
Parzybok calls the mural some of the best work his students have done in his nine years with the Care Center. Work he says, will be on display for generation of students and their families to see when they come to the Peck Middle School. The Holyoke Care Center students have already been asked to come back and paint more murals at the Peck School.